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US track star condemns Russia's anti-gay policies

Before going to the World Championships in Moscow, Olympian Nick Symmonds argues 'the playing field is not a place for politics'
Two-time 800-meter Olympian Nick Symmonds

US track and field Olympian, and LGBT ally, Nick Symmonds will be competing in the World Championships in Moscow, which begin on 10 August.

He's blogging about the experience for the magazine Runner's World and denounces Russia's anti-gay policies.

'These laws, which do not expressly prohibit being homosexual, criminalize public discussion of homosexuality, especially with foreigners,' Symmonds wrote on 6 August.

'As an American, I believe in freedom of speech and equality for all, and therefore disagree with the laws that Russia has put in place. Given that I am currently residing in London, I will say, once again, that our LGBT neighbors deserve all the same rights as the rest of us,' the 800-meter Olympian continued.

However, he will not discuss the laws while in Moscow. Not 'out of fear of prosecution by the Russian government, but out of respect for the fact that I will be a guest in the host nation.'

Symmonds adds the athletic field should be free of political battles.

'The playing field is not a place for politics. In a world rife with never-ending political battles, let the playing field be where we set aside our differences and compete for national pride and the love of sport.'

However, once the race is done Symmonds will continue to demand for gay equality.

'Upon my return, I will then continue to fight for their rights in my beloved democratic union.'

Symmonds won his round one heat today (10 August), qualifying for the semifinal.

Below is an interview with the runner after his win.

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