Here is the letter I wrote the IOC on their recent decision to punish athletes protesting the homophobic Russian law.
“To whom it may concern,
6. Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race,
religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic
Does that mean the IOC will violate their own charter by punishing athletes who wear pride symbols during the games?
I look forward to your reply.”
This is the response I received
Thank you for your email. To answer your questions, The IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive protests or demonstrations. This rule has been in place for many years and aims to separate sport from politics, honour the context of the Olympic Games, and ensure the peaceful gathering of athletes from over 200 nations, officials and spectators from all kinds of different cultures and backgrounds. By its nature, the Olympic Games cannot become a platform for any kind of demonstration and the IOC will not accept any proactive gesture that could harm their spirit and jeopardize their future.
That said, the IOC would always treat each case individually and take a sensible approach depending on what was said or done.
I take this opportunity to share with you our position on this matter: “The International Olympic Committee is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation. The Games themselves should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course athletes. We would oppose in the strongest terms any move that would jeopardise this principle.
As you know, this legislation has just been passed into law and it remains to be seen whether and how it will be implemented, particularly as regards the Games in Sochi. As a sporting organisation, what we can do is to continue to work to ensure that the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media. To that end, the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”
We hope this will be helpful,
Many thanks and best regards
Media Relations Manager
INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
Château de Vidy
1007 Lausanne, Switzerland
Fax +41 (0)21 621 6356”
Clear enough for everyone? Cause it isn’t for me.