Vladimir Putin

IOC received assurances from highest level of Russian government that anti-gay law will not affect Olympics


The International Olympic Committee said in a statement addressed to its members that it has been assured by Russian government that a recent law against gay rights activism will not affect those associated with or attending the Sochi Olympics in February.

“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 as stated in the Olympic Charter,” the statement read. “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 sports 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 a number of assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

President Barack Obama has voiced disagreement with the Russian law enacted in June that bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors. He also does not believe in a boycott.

“I do not think it’s appropriate to boycott the Olympics,” Obama told reporters Friday. “We’ve got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed.”

Video: Obama: No tolerance for Russia treating gays, lesbians differently

Mikaela Shiffrin wins back-to-back slalom races at Aspen World Cup

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“I think there’s something special about Aspen,” Mikaela Shiffrin told NBC after winning two slalom races in as many days.

After Saturday’s history-making win, when Shiffrin won her first World Cup race in the U.S. and was the first American woman to win a slalom race at the Aspen World Cup stop, the twenty-year-old won again by a large margin. After winning by 3:07 seconds on Saturday, Shiffrin told reporters, “I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again.”

But on Sunday her lead over the second place finisher, Frida Hansdotter of Sweden, wasn’t much shorter: 2:65 seconds. And this was with an early mistake that left her off balance for a moment in her final run.

In third place was Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic.

This weekend also saw a podium finish for American Travis Ganong. Racing the downhill event at Lake Louise yesterday, Ganong finished third behind Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who is recovering from an Achilles injury that prevented him from competing the majority of the last season, and Peter Fill of Norway. Ganong cAksel Lund Svindal of Norwayouldn’t quite repeat his success in the Super G event on Sunday, finishing fourth.

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Hamburg withdraws 2024 Olympic bid after referendum

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Hamburg will not continue its bid to host the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics, withdrawing from the race after a public referendum was held.

If over 50% of the voters in Hamburg had voted in support of the Olympic bid they would have stayed in race. However, the New York Times reported that of the 650,000 votes that were cast, 51.7% were against the bid.

Olaf Scholz, the mayor of Hamburg, said, “This is a decision that we did not have liked but it is clear.”

A public referendum also ended Munich’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Germany has not hosted a Games since 1972.

The cities that remain in contention to host the 2024 Olympics are Los Angeles, Budapest, Paris and Rome. None of these plan to hold public referendums.

The 2024 host city will be selected on September 13th, 2017 at the International Olympic Committee meeting in Lima, Peru.