Jacques Rogge

IOC wants clarification after Russia gives written confirmation anti-gay rights law won’t be enforced at Sochi Olympics

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International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said the IOC is looking at written confirmation from Russia that anti-gay rights activism legislation will not apply to athletes and visitors at the Sochi Olympics, but it needs more clarification.

The Russian law, enacted in June, bans the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors, and carries with it fines and possible prison sentences.

“There are still uncertainties and we have asked for more clarification as of today,” Rogge said at a news conference Friday in Moscow, according to R-Sport. “When we understand the law, we are prepared to abide the Olympic charter, which says sport is a human right and it should be available to all.”

Rogge said the confusion is in the translation of the law from Russian to English.

“The Olympic charter is clear,” Rogge said, according to The Associated Press. “A sport is a human right and it should be available to all, regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation.”

The AP reported Thursday that the U.S. Olympic Committee engaged in discussions with the IOC and the U.S. State Department to ensure the safety and security of U.S. athletes at the Olympics.

“We do not know how and to what extent (the law) will be enforced,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun wrote in a letter addressed to U.S. Olympic organizations date July 25, according to the AP.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he had no tolerance for gays and lesbians to be treated differently.

Last week, the IOC stood by its assurances from Russian officials that the law would not be enforced during the Olympics, despite Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko saying those “propagandizing” gay relationships would be “held accountable.” The IOC said its Russian source outranked Mutko.

Mutko said Thursday the Western criticism over the law is an attempt to “undermine Russia’s athletic performance” at the Sochi Games, according to R-Sport.

“I would call this a bit of pressure ahead of the Olympics,” Mutko said. “Russia should understand that the stronger we are, the more they don’t like it.”

World Track and Field Championships start amid cloud of doping, missing stars

Blake Griffin will miss Olympics, report says

Blake Griffin
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For the second straight Olympics, Blake Griffin will not be able to join Team USA due to injury, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Clippers power forward will be out several months due to his left quad injury, according to the newspaper.

Griffin was originally chosen for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team but withdrew due to a torn meniscus, opening a spot for Anthony Davis.

Davis is also expected to miss the Rio Games due to injury.

Other power forwards on the U.S. finalist list released in January include LaMarcus Aldridge, Kenneth Faried, Draymond Green and Kevin Love.

Rio Olympic cauldron likely to be located near Plaza Maua

Candelaria Church
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Mayor Eduardo Paes says he wants the Olympic cauldron to burn in Rio de Janeiro’s revitalized port area.

The cauldron will be lit at Maracana Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on Aug. 5, and will spend the night there before traveling to a permanent home.

Mario Andrada, spokesman for the Rio organizing committee, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the cauldron will be placed in the port area, but not in the heart of the renovated port area known as Plaza Maua.

“It will be close to Plaza Maua, but not exactly in Plaza Maua,” Andrada said. He said it was likely to be located near the Candelaria Church, which is near the plaza.

“Don’t get me into a fight with the mayor,” Andrada added.

Paes said he hoped the new plaza would be a center for outdoor entertainment during the Games, including performance stages, musical attractions, and large-screen televisions.

“It seems that the Maracana Stadium has limitations,” Paes said, adding that moving out of the Maracana “is good because it democratizes the access to the cauldron.”

The new plaza and downtown Rio are far from the heart of the Games in suburban Barra da Tijuca. It is also an area not usually visited by tourists.

The Olympic flame arrives from Greece and Switzerland on Tuesday in the capital Brasilia, to be carried off the plane by IOC member Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Rio organizing committee.

The flame then goes to the Planalto presidential palace where it is expected to be greeted by President Dilma Rousseff.

Andrada said IOC President Thomas Bach and other top IOC officials would not be at the ceremony.

Rousseff is facing impeachment charges and could be suspended from office as early as May 11, turning over authority to Vice President Michel Temer.

Temer, himself, could also face impeachment proceedings and has a scandal-tainted career.

PHOTOS: Olympic flame visits Acropolis, 1896 Olympic Stadium