US Olympic Committee CEO Asks Olympic Athletes To “Comply” With Russian Law

6a00d8341c60fd53ef0120a7aebb9e970b-800wiThe jurassic folks running things at the IOC have made it abundantly clear that they won’t be taking any extra precautions to ensure the safety of LGBT athletes at the Olympic Games in Sochi next year.

After the Committee lied and asked for clarification of Russia’s “gay propaganda” laws, Russian officials have said they will fully enforce the laws as they apply to both athletes and tourists. IOC President Jacques Rogge responded by essentially throwing his hands in the air and shrugging it off.

That sentiment was echoed by US Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun this week, who told Russian news outlet Ria Novosti that he urges “athletes [to] comply with the laws of every nation we visit.”

Blackmun says he’s read Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, and thinks it’s “not workable” for Olympic committees from around the globe—under the IOC—to discuss them or lobby the IOC for change. “Our job, first and foremost, is to make sure that our athletes are prepared to compete and aren’t distracted while they’re here.”

“We’re a sports organization,” he continued, “and we’ll leave the diplomacy on the legal issues to the diplomats, and we’re not going to get involved.”

Furthermore, he admitted there is no plan in place to combat the arrest of an LGBT athlete. When Ria Novosti suggested Blackmun may have to “get involved if an athlete decides to make a protest,” this was his response:

“You can’t judge in advance what you’re going to do. Each Games is different. The athletes are always going into countries with laws different than his or her own country. They’re going to agree with those laws in some ways, they’re going to disagree with those laws in other ways. It’s our strong desire that our athletes comply with the laws of every nation that we visit. This law is no different.”

Easier said than done, right? How can someone like Johnny Weir possibly “comply” with an anti-gay law when every fibre of his being screams queen!?

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  • Derek Williams

    So that’s clear then, countries do not have to comply with the Olympic Charter.

  • andy_d

    Some history regarding the USOC: This is the same group responsible for suing Dr. Tom Waddell for daring to call what is now the “Gay Games” the “Gay Olympics.” Many in the community feel (including myself) feel that the stress placed upon Dr. Waddell by this lawsuit hastened his death from AIDS related illness.

  • Rational

    It’s all about the MONEY not the athletes, not the games, not the sport…THE MONEY… remember this group would not let the Gay Games be called the “Gay Olympics” because they didn’t want the word Olympics associated with Gay. There may be monetary justice however …the host cities usually find out they have lost money when the Olympics are over. The Olympics and the Host Country both have dirty hands.

  • redspyder

    Olympic Creed: The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

    Scott Blackmun: Comply

  • Indyenna

    I won’t watch the Winter Olympics. I probably won’t support the Sponsors of the Olympics for that time.

  • litper

    Ban Olympic Committee as a HATE organisation!!!

  • greybat

    Since when is a CEO the Moral Judge of anything?

  • greyhound1954

    Two things. First, Johnny Weir won’t make the Olympic team, so if he’s in Russia, it will be as a private citizen or as a paid commentator/reporter. Second, regardless of what Blackmun is quoted as saying, you can be sure that not only the USOC but also the U.S. State Department have action plans to follow should an American athlete be arrested or otherwise detained by Russian security.

  • hf2hvit

    @redspyder: That’s a load of gutter vomit. It’s the winners that get the multi-million dollar endorsements…the STRAIGHT ones, that is…

  • hf2hvit

    Scott Blackmun=CHICKEN SHIT

  • 2eo

    @Cam: You realise pointing out the tactics are working is cause for censorship here, by the mysterious “Editors”.

  • Mr. E. Jones


    Holy crap! Look at the faces of the other two women on the podium–priceless!

  • redspyder


    While it might be a load of ‘gutter vomit’, it still is the Olympic aspiration, as defined by the IOC. When the Head of the USOC says “comply” – in the face of a creed that says the most important thing is to struggle and to have fought well – it sort of suggests that he has no business being involved with the Olympics in the first place.

  • Derek Williams

    I don’t think it’s straw man to conclude that by refusing to move or cancel the Winter Olympics, or to take any firm steps whatsoever to ensure equal treatment for all participants in the games, the IOC and now the USOC effectively are endorsing the Russian government’s popular persecution of gay people and all that connotes.

    The official acceptance by the IOC and the USOC of Russia’s law, as one that “must be respected” should be anathema to all who love freedom, and who abhor bad things being done to good people. We therefore have to look elsewhere for progress on this issue.

    The Blood on the hands of Putin:
    • Suspected of having former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko poisoned on foreign soil with Polonium-210. Litvinenko had exposed Russian secret services’ staging Russian apartment bombings and other terrorism acts to bring Vladimir Putin to power.
    • Has made Russia the $1.5 billion arsenal of Assad’s Syria, notably S-300 missile systems.
    • Jailed anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny for 5 years after Navalny had exposed billions of dollars in official corruption.
    • Had whistleblowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who had exposed $2.5 million in police fraud, arrested by the very police he exposed, who then tortured him to death in prison, after which Putin commended, promoted and decorated said police.
    • In order to shore up the Russian Orthodox religious voting bloc, passed legislation recriminalising homosexuality, thereby allowing police to ignore mob, gang and individual attacks on gay people, including several torturing murders, and instead arrest those that were attacked on charges of ‘extremism’ and ‘homosexual propaganda’. A 15 year old gay boy was tortured to death, had his body urinated on, and the result posted to social media with his murderers proud and in full view, claiming this was “for the protection of children”; a gay man who had never harmed a soul was “correctively raped” with beer bottles until he bled to death; mobs in the tens of thousands led by Russian Orthodox priests are conducting violent pogroms against LGBT people.
    • Dismissed popular government television presenter Anton Krasovsky from his job on the spot, without entitlements after he came out as gay.

    Russia is the biggest of big disappointments, because it is the home of some of the world’s greatest culture, specifically ballet, music, literature, sculpture, science, architecture and to see its government turn with such vehemence and outright hostility against its LGBT citizens just to garner the religious voters from the Russian Orthodox Church, whose priests are participating in the violent nationwide pogroms against LGBT is utterly horrifying. We expected so much better from this once great nation.

  • Derek Williams

    The craven capitulation of the IOC to Russian government bullying cannot be allowed to sit where it is. The IOC and more recently the USOC have in effect endorsed Russia’s recriminalisation of homosexuality by ordering all athletes to “respect Russia’s law” and shut the hell up, right down to painting their fingernails the “right colour” (not Rainbow). If it were ANY other minority, the IOC and the USOC would be calling on Russia to “respect the Olympic Charter” it signed up to. Anything can be turned into a “crime” by a hostile government simply by passing a law. For example Jews became illegal at the stroke of a pen under the Nazis. Would today’s IOC tell Berlin athletes of the day to “respect Nazi law”?

    The IOC and USOC therefore need to be brought in line with their own charter, and insist that Russia abide by it or desist from holding any future events of international goodwill. Same goes for upcoming events in other countries that criminalise homosexuality, including the death penalty. If our government believes as David Cameron clearly does, that Russia’s policy is in breach not only of the Olympic Charter, but of the United Nations International Declaration of Human Rights, to which Russia is also signatory, then words (while still very welcome and very necessary) are not enough. A new kind of “coalition of the willing” governments needs to come together to push back any further inroads against LGBT’s equal right to exist and equal right to happiness.

    What is done today has implications for other minorities. “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice” (Martin Luther King).

  • ronavila

    thanks for the reminder Andy. The Olympic Charter is meaningless.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    I will not watch the Olympics. I want nothing to do with Russia.

  • Daniel-Reader

    It is really appalling that the Olympic people claim sport is a human right. It shows how little they know about human rights, as they are so willing to capitulate to mass human rights violations. Human rights are universal and indivisible. You do not compromise other people’s human rights in the pursuit of sport and the money surrounding it.

  • GayTampaCowboy

    Once an issue like BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS takes hold – like this issue – it can overwhelm even the most “established” organizations (IOC) and even a country (Russia).

    No matter how loud the calls are for separating sport from human rights, a conflict is inevitable – and THAT will test how the IOC and Russia respond.

    There will, of course, be THOUSANDS of gay and gay-friendly athletes and supporters attending the Winter Games. Some will avoid public displays of affection over fear of persecution, violence and arrest. Others will embrace such a conflict as a means to continue to elevate the issue of basic human rights.

    How these juxtaposing parties ultimately act – and how the host country and IOC react will resonate to a level that will make history.

    What happens when a gay couple is beaten and killed in Russia during the games? After the “politically-correct” statements being issued by Russia and the IOC, the reality of the impact of this “law” will then have a real HUMAN face.

    It’s my hope that the WORLD will come to understand that when you bid for an Olympic games, there ARE some issues that MUST supersede the host country’s laws. Why? Because if you want to be true citizen of the world, there are SOME issues that can’t be masked or outlawed – basic human rights being one of them.

  • Derek Williams

    @GayTampaCowboy: Agreed. Authority relies on the majority of gays being too timid and/or isolated to be able to stand up to persecution successfully. However if all 7 million gays in Russia and all the athletes in the crowd, and the supportive parts of the crowd chime in together, it would utterly overwhelm the authorities who don’t have 7 million prison spaces, even in Siberia.

    I’ve seen this bluff-calling work in Tasmania Australia, when it was illegal to be gay (25 years imprisonment) where gay couples showed up at the local police station to admit openly to being in their relationships. The police refused to arrest them.

    It takes something this big to force policy change, and better still, regime change from the current criminal administration.

  • loren_1955

    Shame shame shame on the American Olympic committee. Indeed the committees effort should focus on the athletes and their performance. HOWEVER, they should also focus on the athletes safety. With no guarantee of safety, these are brave souls to compete.
    Always FOLLOW THE MONEY, reality check here, I believe there is little concern for the athlete as compared with the money.

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