New IOC President Thomas Bach reiterated Sunday that a Russian
anti-gay law won't affect the Winter Olympics to take place in Sochi.
The law, signed in June by Russian President Vladimir Putin,
prohibits the public promotion of “gay propaganda” to minors,
effectively outlawing Gay Pride parades and similar demonstrations of
Bach, who was elected to his post on September 10, briefly touched
on the subject during the Olympic flame lighting ceremony at Ancient
Olympia's Temple of Hera in southern Greece.
“The task of the IOC is to ensue the application of the Olympic
Charter at the Olympic Games and for all the participants of Olympic
Games,” Bach is quoted as saying after the ceremony by the AP.
“That means we have to ensure a policy of non-discrimination at all
levels, for all athletes and for all other participants.”
“We have the assurances of the highest authorities in Russia,
and yesterday I spoke with the Russian delegation here in Olympia
again and they reassured us that the Olympic Charter will fully apply
for all the participants of the games.”
Additionally, Bach told those attending the event: “The Olympic
torch relay will be a messenger for the Olympic values of excellence,
friendship and respect without any form of discrimination.”
Greek gay rights activist Zak Kostopoulos told the AP that the law
was “totally unacceptable.”
“This is an effort to criminalize even a discussion about being
gay,” he said.