IOC says Sochi set for Games, Russian anti-gay law not a barrier

Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:31pm EDT
 
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By Maxim Shemetov

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee said on Thursday it had assessed that a Russian law banning "gay propaganda" does not violate its charter and the city of Sochi would be ready to host the 2014 Winter Games.

An IOC delegation said after inspecting facilities in the Black Sea resort that, despite flooding this week and work that has turned much of the city into a muddy construction site, the "magnificent" sporting venues were already completed.

"We often say that there is no time to waste as the clock ticks down to the opening ceremony, and this still stands true," said Jean-Claude Killy, head of the team which visited Sochi for the last time before the Games start in February.

"But to see how far the local organizers have come over the last six years is quite simply remarkable - the competition venues are ready; the spirit of the Games is awakening here; and the athletes, spectators and all others who visit next February can expect a fabulous experience."

He said a "few minor things" still needed to be done but added: "Everything is very impressive."

Killy, a former Olympics gold medalist skier for France, also dismissed concerns about a law in force since June which bans the spread of homosexual propaganda among minors but is seen by critics as discriminatory.

"As long as the Olympic Charter is respected, we are satisfied. This is the case," Killy told a news conference.

The announcement angered civil rights campaigners, who accused the IOC of abandoning the LGBT community.   Continued...

 
Jean-Claude Killy (L), head of the IOC Coordination Commission to monitor progress for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, and Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak (R) attend a news conference on the results of the 10th visit of the IOC Coordination Commission in Sochi, September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Nina Zotina