Sochi suffers backlash over Gay Propaganda laws: Controversy surrounds Russian President Vladimir Putin’s June implementation of laws that make public discussion and support of LGBT issues illegal.
What’s Love Got To Do With It?: Sochi Suffers Backlash Over Gay Propaganda Laws
Almost immediately after Sochi was named the 2014 Winter Games’ host site, concerns about Russia’s lingering human rights offenses arose around the globe. Central to the discourse is the nation’s treatment of gay and transgendered men and women, augmented by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s June implementation of laws that make public discussion and support of LGBT issues illegal — though Putin and Sochi’s Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov vowed that all athletes and spectators would be welcomed regardless of their sexual orientation.
In December, President Barack Obama solidified America’s reaction to Russia’s anti-gay stance via who will and will not represent the U.S. at the Sochi Games. Refusing a boycott as unfair to athletes who train for years for their Olympic moment, Obama instead assembled a White House delegation that includes a pair of openly gay athletes — tennis legend Billie Jean King and hockey player Caitlin Cahow — and, for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Games, does not include the president, vice president, first lady or a former president.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Sochi would follow Vancouver and Beijing’s lead and create sanctioned public protest zones, but athletes must adhere to Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which forbids any “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” on Olympic grounds. Whether that means a rainbow pin on an Olympic warm-up could cost deserving athletes their shot at a medal remains to be seen.
Winter Games At A Glance
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Opening/Closing Ceremonies Feb. 7, 23
Alpine Skiing Feb. 9-10, 12, 14-16, 18-19, 21-22
Biathlon Feb. 8-11, 13-14, 16-17, 19, 21-22
Bobsled Feb. 16-19, 22-23
Cross-Country Skiing Feb. 8-9, 11, 13-16, 19, 22-23
Curling Feb. 10-21
Figure Skating Feb. 6, 8-9, 11-14, 16-17, 19-20, 22
Freestyle Skiing Feb. 6, 8, 10-11, 13-14, 17-18, 20-21
Ice Hockey Feb. 8-23
Luge Feb. 8-13
Nordic Combined Feb. 12, 18, 20
Short Track Speed Skating Feb. 10, 13, 15, 18, 21
Skeleton Feb. 13-15
Ski Jumping Feb. 8-9, 11, 14-15, 17
Snowboard Feb. 6, 8-9, 11-12, 16-17, 19, 22
Speed Skating Feb. 8-13, 15-16, 18-19, 21-22
All sports have live and on demand coverage on NBCOlympics.com and on the NBC Sports Live Extra mobile app.