A senior IOC member has slammed the US for including gay athletes in its official delegation to the Olympics next month.
Mario Pescante, former vice president of the International Olympics Committee, is reported to have said the US should not be ‘promoting’ gay rights while in Sochi.
‘It’s absurd that a country like that sends four lesbians to Russia just to demonstrate that in their country gay rights have [been established],’ he said.
‘The games should not be an occasion and a stage to promote rights that sports supports daily.’
The Italian Olympic Committee has not confirmed or denied Pescante’s comments.
For the first time since 2000, the US delegation to the Olympics will not include a president, vice president or first lady.
President Obama is sending three openly gay athletes – tennis legend Billie Jean King, figure skater Brian Boitano and hockey player Caitlin Cahow.
While the IOC has said they have ‘received assurances’ no gay athlete or tourist will be arrested during the Games, Russia has a slightly different point of view.
Lawmaker Vitaly Milonov has said the gay propaganda law will remain enforced, meaning LGBTI athletes or tourists could be arrested, held for 15 days and even deported.