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Honorary official discourages gay-rights protests at Sochi Olympics

February 04, 2014|By David Wharton
  • Svetlana Zhurova
Svetlana Zhurova (Associated Press )

SOCHI, Russia -- The honorary mayor of the mountain village at the 2014 Sochi Olympics said Tuesday that the Games should not be used as a platform to protest about gay rights.

"For the spectators, it is more important who wins than whether he or her is homosexual or not," said Svetlana Zhurova of Russia, a gold-medal speedskater at the 2006 Turin Games.

Gay rights have been an issue because of a Russian laws that criminalizes "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" in the presence of minors.

On Monday, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said athletes should be allowed to voice their opinions during news conferences. The Russian government has established a protest zone near the city.

Zhurova said: "I have never seen [this] at any Olympic Games, and I would call on the people who are going to protest that it doesn't make sense."

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