The International Olympic Committee received a letter from the Russian government on Thursday saying visitors at the Sochi Olympics will be welcome regardless of sexual orientation and at the same time defending the country’s new law.
“The Russian Federation guarantees the fulfillment of its obligations before the International Olympic Committee in its entirety,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak wrote.
Kozak defended a law passed in June banning the “propagandizing” of nontraditional sexual relations toward minors in Russia.
The law “cannot be regarded as discrimination based on sexual orientation,” as it applies to everybody, Kozak wrote, according to The Associated Press.
The IOC said two weeks ago it needed clarification on Russia’s law, citing a translation issue.
“We have today received strong written reassurances from the Russian government that everyone will be welcome at the Games in Sochi regardless of their sexual orientation,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said in a statement Thursday.
Kozak added this in the letter, according to Reuters:
“In particular, legislation of the Russian Federation does not stipulate any restrictions or differentiation of the rights and responsibilities of citizens on the basis of sexual orientation.
“Discrimination against sexual minorities, just as any other discrimination, is expressly forbidden by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.”
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round.
No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).
No. 9 Taylor Fritz and No. 12 Frances Tiafoe are the highest-seeded Americans, looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.