Russian government assured the International Olympic Committee that the Sochi 2014 Olympics will be exempt from legislation banning the promotion of homosexuality, the IOC told R-Sport on Friday.
“As a sporting organization, 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,” the IOC said in an emailed statement to the Russian news outlet. “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.”
Russia passed a law in June banning gay “propaganda.” It prompted protests, even calls to boycott the Games by some. Two-time U.S. Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, an enthusiast of all things Russian who came out as gay in 2011, wrote in his weekly newspaper column that he does not think there should be a boycott.
The IOC also made a similar statement on the issue last week.
“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 seen whether and how it will be implemented, particularly as regards the Games in Sochi. As a sporting organization, 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. Wider political issues in the country are best dealt with by other international organizations more suited to this endeavor.”
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Pyeongchang Olympic organizers published a promotional video Friday highlighting the South Korean host’s venues and its slogan, “Passion. Connected.”
The video highlights South Korea’s history of hosting major sports events — the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, the 2002 FIFA World Cup across Japan and South Korea and the 2011 World Track and Field Championships in Daegu — which was also a point during its host city candidacy several years ago.
Pyeongchang finally earned the right to host the Olympics after finishing second in voting for the 2010 Winter Games (losing by three votes) and the 2014 Winter Games (losing by four votes).
The Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9, 2018, will mark the first Winter Games in East Asia in 20 years.
The slogan was announced on May 16, 2015.
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Mack Horton, the Olympic 400m freestyle champion, said he had a mole on his chest removed after a fan emailed his Australian swim team doctor alerting to get it checked out.
Horton said he believed the concerned fan may have been a skin specialist, according to the (Melbourne) Herald Sun.
“I’ve been watching this mole for a little while, Mack should probably go and get it checked out,” Horton said the fan said in an email to the doctor, according to the report. “They just looked at it [Thursday] and said let’s take it out now.
“They checked my whole body and then looked at this one and said we’d rather do it sooner rather than later.”
Horton joked on Australian TV that he probably owes the fan a free swim lesson.
“Sometimes I was blasé and sometimes I’d see it in the mirror and say, ‘I probably should get this one checked out,’ because I had noticed it had been changing a little bit, but I guess this person calling me out on it made me finally go and do it, which was a good thing,” Horton said, according to the newspaper.
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