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IOC president reaffirms his confidence in Sochi Olympics

October 30, 2013|By David Wharton
  • International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach speaks during the presentation of the outfits for volunteers of the Sochi Winter Olympics on Wednesday.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach speaks during… (Yevgeny Reutov / EPA )

The president of the International Olympic Committee reaffirmed his belief that Russia's anti-gay law will not impact the 2014 Sochi Games and said organizers are preparing an “excellent, unique and a perfect stage for the athletes to perform at their best."

Thomas Bach made his statements Wednesday, the third day of a four-day tour of Sochi and its nearby mountains.

"I can confidently say that all the athletes will be warmly welcomed and they will be suitable impressed with the athletes' villages and competition venues," he said. "We can expect to see some terrific performances in February as a result."

His visit has included a private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bach said he received assurances that there will be no discrimination against the LGBT community during the Games.

"All visitors traveling to Sochi for the Games regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation will be welcomed here equally -- this has been made very clear by the Russian authorities," he said.

Many have been skeptical of such statements.

The Russian law bans "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships to minors.” Critics say it effectively prohibits gay rights rallies and could be used against anyone who voices support for gays.


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