IOC: Games Not the Place for Political Statements
The International Olympic Committee recently stated that the 2014 Olympic Games are not the place for political statements, adding that, "Any participant who steps out of line may be punished, not by the Russians but by Olympic chiefs,"Gay Star News reports.
"[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 political or religious demonstration," a spokesperson for the IOC told GSN. "This rule has been in place for many years and applied when necessary."
The penalty for such demonstrations may include "disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned," the rule states. This penalty may not be appealed.
The games "should be open to all, free of discrimination," said Olympics President Jacques Rogge, but the current charter specifies that only race, religion, politics and gender are protected from being discriminated against, not sexuality.
The IOC stated that they have "received assurances from the highest level of government" in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the games, even though the Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko recently stated Russian propaganda laws would be enforced during the games.
These policies may cause obstacles for athletes, like out speed skater Blake Skjellerup, who planned to use Sochi to champion LGBT issues in Russia. Skjellerup simply planned to wear a rainbow flag pin, but this could be construed as propaganda. Actions such as holding hands and kissing a same-sex partner are more ambiguous.