Thomas Bach Takes Over Olympics, Faces Russian Gay Test

Image: Thomas Bach Takes Over Olympics, Faces Russian Gay Test

Wednesday, 11 Sep 2013 12:18 PM

By Michael Mullins

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Thomas Bach, a former German gold medalist turned attorney, was named president of the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday.

The announcement comes amid growing concerns of protests at the upcoming Sochi Games – which will begin next February, involving athletes and spectators who support gay rights and oppose Russia's recently passed legislation that is widely perceived as being anti-gay.

The discriminatory law bans "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations," and implements fines and other penalties for anyone who engages in acts that are perceived as promoting homosexuality, transsexuality and paedophilia. The law does not however define what constitutes "propaganda."

Urgent: Do You Agree With Obama's Stance On Syria? Vote Here

In an attempt to calm fears expressed primarily in the West that gay athletes or others who outwardly opposed the law would be targeted during the Olympic Sochi Games, Russian authorities announced in August that such athletes would not be subject to the law.

Shortly after Bach was named Olympic Committee head, the new president took a phone call from Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, after which he told reporters, "We did not discuss the law."

The 59-year-old Bach was a former fencer who won gold in the 1976 summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. Most recently as president of the German Olympic Committee, Bach headed Munich's unsuccessful bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The games will be played in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Among the most pressing issues facing Bach as president will be how to handle demonstrations against the Russian law by athletes at the Sochi Games in February, The New York Times notes.

"The I.O.C. has to really have very clear rules on what you can do and not do," Gunilla Lindberg, a member of the I.O.C. executive board from Sweden, told The Times.

Rule 50 of the Olympic charter states that "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted" at any Olympic site.

Bach appeared to echo the sentiment of Rule 50 on Tuesday, maintaining that athletes should have the right to express their opinions outside the competition, however when in the arena, "You have to be protected from political controversies," he said, The Times reported.

On Tuesday Larry Probst, the chairman of the United States Olympic Committee and I.O.C. delegate, said "We will do everything to comply with I.O.C. regulations and the way they intend to handle any protests or demonstrations."

Urgent: Should Obamacare be Repealed? Vote Here Now

Related stories:

Obama on Russia: No Olympic Boycott; Putin Like 'Bored Kid'

Russia Moves to Enact Anti-Gay Laws Nationwide

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Send me more news as it happens.
Get me on The Wire
Send me more news as it happens.
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
You May Also Like

Sony Cancels 'The Interview' Theatrical Release Over Hacker Threats

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 18:24 PM

Sony Entertainment has canceled the Dec. 25 release of "The Interview" after theater chains decided not to show the movi . . .

Texas Plumber's Truck Seemingly Used by Islamic Militants in Syria

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 18:06 PM

A photo of an old truck that used to belong to a Texas plumber has showed up on Twitter being used in Syria's civil war. . . .

JK Rowling Says Hogwarts Had Jewish Wizards, Such As Anthony Goldstein

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 17:26 PM

Responding to a question from a fan, author J.K. Rowling revealed on Twitter on Tuesday that the Harry Potter series inc . . .

Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved