Olympic Committee asserts opposition to LGBT discrimination

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The International Olympic Commission released a new statement regarding the Winter Olympics 2014 and emphasized that the event’s values include “respect without any form of discrimination.” The Commission released the statement on September 29 before the Olympic flame lighting in Ancient Olympia, Greece.

“The flame lit today by the Greek sun takes on this responsibility for a peaceful celebration here and now; the torches will carry it into the Olympic future,” said International Olympic Commission President Thomas Bach during the event. “Thus the Olympic Torch Relay will be a messenger for the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect without any form of discrimination.”

Several prominent Olympic officials were present for the event including 2014 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko, Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov, and Russian National Olympic Committee President Vitaly Smirnov. 

“The Olympic message sees the global diversity of cultures, societies and life choices as a source of enrichment. It accuses no one and it excludes no one. But it does require us all to defend and uphold the Olympic values in all the sports competitions; among all those taking part and at all the Olympic venues,” Bach added. 

“Only then can we use our positive message of tolerance and respect through fair play in sport to set an example for the harmonious development of humanity.”

Since Russia implemented the anti-LGBT law banning “homosexual propaganda,” several LGBT advocates, including Cleve Jones, Dan Savage and Harvey Fierstein, have boycotted the Olympics as well as Russian vodka. 

Last week, controversy sparked after IOC Coordination Commission chair Jean-Clause Killy said, “as long as the Olympic Charter is respected, we are satisfied.”

“That is clearly not expressing any view on the law itself,” the Olympic body said in a press statement. “Mr. Killy made it abundantly clear that the IOC never comments on national legislation.”

LBGT activist groups Athlete Ally and All Out created a petition pleading the International Olympic Committee to pressure Russia into ending their anti-LGBT oppression. The petition has gained over 300,000 signatures.

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