IOC President Jacques Rogge is learning the hard way that talk of LGBT athletes’ safety at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi isn’t going to end, especially after Russian officials have threatened to jail anyone “promoting homosexual propaganda.”
Several athletes, including Blake Skjellerup and Johnny Weir, have publicly announced that they’ll be airing their political views in some form or another if they qualify for the Games. If Russia decides to make good on its promise to enforce new anti-gay laws, a number of foreign athletes may be coming home with a criminal record instead of the gold.
Time and time again, the IOC has lied about working to ensure the safety of athletes. Despite being at the center of a global controversy regarding human rights, the only thing the IOC has managed to do is advise athletes to keep their mouths shut—it would be “rude” to do otherwise.
Last week, a coalition of openly gay NYC politicians sent the IOC a letter expressing concern for the safety of LGBT athletes in Sochi. In a timely response, the IOC has (once again) failed to deliver any actual information or reassurance. Instead, they’ve responded with a shitty form letter that says it would be “inappropriate and counterproductive” to tell us exactly what they’re doing to secure the safety of athletes and tourists in Russia:
In regard to Sochi 2014, the IOC is currently in close discussions with the highest government level in Russia and has received a number of assurances, but we are continuing the dialogue with Russian authorities on this important topic. As you will understand, it would be inappropriate and counterproductive to comment publicly on the details of the discussions while they are on-going.
However, we have widely communicated our position which was also published on our website at the end of July. Rest assured that the safety of athletes, spectators and others attending the Games remains a top priority for the IOC and we will continue to work to ensure that this will be the case in Sochi and future editions of the Games.
So why, exactly, is it inappropriate for the folks threatened by the Russian government to know what the IOC is doing to protect them? Why hasn’t the IOC publicly condemned Russia’s anti-gay laws, and if they’ve actually come to an agreement with the Russian government to suspend its laws during the 2014 Games (as suggested in this letter), why is it a big secret?
Oh, that’s right. Probably because the IOC is lying again and doesn’t really care about the safety of LGBTs. Have another Coke, sirs.