With the London 2012 Olympics and Para-Olympic games coming to an end Olympic focus is shifting to the next games, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Outside of the general questionable human rights issues within Russia (most recently surrounding the arrest and sentencing of the punk group Pussy Riot) the country has been increasingly hostile towards LGBTQ people.
Moscow recently put a 100 year ban in place on Pride Parades, St. Petersburg and several other municipalities have put laws in place banning the “promotion of homosexuality” with this set to be introduced for politicians to put this in place nationally. The Pride House (introduced in 2010 at the Vancouver Olympics and present at the London games as well) has been banned from taking part in the Sochi games by the organizers there.
The IOC has yet to address what they are going to do to ensure the safety of openly LGBTQ athletes at the games, especially if a national law against “promoting homosexuality” is put in place. How will the IOC address openly gay athletes, coaches, team member, or even members of the press/media from broadcasting or tweeting about being LGBTQ. Will an athlete/coach/member’s tweet thanking their same-sex partner for their support be seen as promoting homosexuality? Will the broadcasters be banned from having an athlete and their same-sex partners on air?
One thing that is certain is despite the introduction of the United Nations recognizing LGBTQ rights as human rights the IOC does not seem to share this opinion. It will be interesting to see whether or not how LGBTQ athletes will be welcomed will be something the IOC considers when considering future bids for the games, clearly it was not something consider with the selection of Sochi.