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Olympians join Athlete Ally, All Out in support of gay rights in Sochi

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Athlete Ally and All Out launched a campaign titled “Principle 6” to protest Russia’s anti-gay law going into the Sochi Olympics.

The campaign references the sixth “fundamental principle of Olympism” outlined in the Olympic Charter.

“Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement,” the charter reads.

At least 15 Olympians pledged support, including Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash, U.S. Soccer star Megan Rapinoe and retired tennis player Andy Roddick.

Athlete Ally said its first step was a letter from those Olympians to International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach “telling Bach that it is time for the IOC to speak boldly and proactively about this human rights issue.”

Bach responded to All Out in a letter after the IOC was asked “to clarify whether the Olympic Charter includes lesbian, gay, bi and trans people under Principle 6,” according to a press release.

“Let me first take this opportunity to reassure you that the IOC will do everything it can to ensure that the Olympic Games in Sochi as well as any future Games’ edition will be free of any form of discrmination,” Bach wrote, adding that the IOC again received assurances two weeks ago that the Olympic Charter will be applied during the Sochi Games.

“However, it is important to stress that the IOC’s remit does not extend to the internal affairs of sovereign nations, no matter how we may feel about them. We are not a supra-national parliament or government and we must leave such deliberations to the competent authorities. The IOC cannot hope to influence national legislation outside the scope of the Games and has to respect the law of each host country.”

Openly gay athletes are expected to compete at the Sochi Olympics, such as Canadian hockey forward Sarah Vaillancourt and New Zealand short track speedskater Blake Skjellerup.

In private meetings, LGBT rights advocates thought about the idea of pairs of two men and two women holding hands during the parade of nations at the opening ceremony, according to The New York Times.

The symbol and the syllables P6, perhaps worn as a sticker, perhaps woven into clothing, could evolve into something along the lines of a Livestrong bracelet: a ubiquitous motif that doesn’t spell out a whole philosophy but has an unmistakable meaning and message.

Also Friday, the U.S. Olympic Committee board voted to amend its code of conduct, adding sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy.

Thomas Bach set to visit Sochi for first time as IOC president

2020 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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