Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation

Olympic chief slams world leaders for using Sochi games as ‘political’ platform

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
David Goldman, APRussian President Vladimir Putin, right, greets International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach at an event welcoming IOC members ahead of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics at the Rus Hotel, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

David Goldman, AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, greets International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach at an event welcoming IOC members ahead of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics at the Rus Hotel, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

SOCHI, Russia — International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach accused world leaders Tuesday of using the Sochi Olympics as a political platform “on the backs of the athletes,” and of snubbing the games without even being invited.

Three days before the opening of Russia’s first Winter Games, Bach used a hard-hitting speech to call out politicians for using the Olympics to make an “ostentatious gesture” serving their own agendas.

Without naming any individuals, Bach’s comments appeared directed at President Barack Obama and European politicians who have taken stands against Russia’s law banning gay “propaganda” among minors.

David Goldman,  AP (Pool)Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach greet IOC members at a welcoming event ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

David Goldman, AP (Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach greet IOC members at a welcoming event ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The Olympics, Bach said, should not be “used as a stage for political dissent or for trying to score points in internal or external political contests.”

“Have the courage to address your disagreements in a peaceful direct political dialogue and not on the backs of the athletes,” he said at a ceremony attended by Russian President V ladimir Putin. “People have a very good understanding of what it really means to single out the Olympic Games to make an ostentatious gesture which allegedly costs nothing but produces international headlines.

“In the extreme, we had to see a few politicians whose contributions to the fight for a good cause consisted of publicly declining invitations they had not even received.”

The buildup to the Olympics has been overshadowed by Western criticism of the anti-gay law and Russia’s record on human rights and other issues, making Sochi among the most politically charged games in years.

Obama and key European leaders are shunning the Olympics. Obama, in a clear message against the anti-gay laws, has sent a delegation to Sochi made up of three openly gay athletes – tennis great Billie Jean King, 2006 Olympic hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow and figure skater Brian Boitano.

For the first time since 2000, the U.S. delegation to an Olympics will not include a p resident, vice president or first lady. Former Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano leads the delegation.

German President Joachim Gauck and French President Francois Hollande are also not coming to Sochi. Neither is British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Bach reiterated again that Putin had given the IOC assurances that the Olympic Charter would be upheld during the games and that homosexuals would not be discriminated against.

Bach said Olympic values stand against any form of discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation.

But he stressed the IOC must be “politically neutral without being apolitical” and that athletes must not use the Olympic Village and venues for “political demonstrations.”

The IOC has come under criticism for not doing more to fight the anti-gay law, but Bach said the committee was a sports organization with limited responsibilities.

“We are not a supra-national government,” he said. “We are not a supe rior world-parliament. We do not have a mandate to impose measures on sovereign states.”

Bach’s speech was delivered at a ceremony marking the opening of the IOC’s three-day session, or general assembly, ahead of the games. The German’s sharp comments marked a strong contrast with the relatively anodyne, diplomatic speeches of his predecessor, Jacques Rogge.

Bach, winner of a fencing gold medal at the 1972 Olympics, was elected in September to succeed Rogge, who served for 12 years.

Bach acknowledged there had been “a lot of skepticism in and outside the IOC” when Sochi was awarded the Olympics in 2007.

“Now, seven years later, we can see that Sochi, that Russia has delivered,” he said.

Putin lauded the IOC’s decision to bring the games to the Black Sea resort.

“We realize what a difficult decision this was to hold the games in a city that barely had 10 to 15 percent of the necessary infrastructure,” he said. “You believed in us, you belie ved in the Russian character which can overcome all difficulties.”

“In the space of five years,” Putin added, “we built world-class sports venues and city infrastructure that normally takes decades to build.”

© 2014, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , , , , ,

Filed under: Europe, Olympics, [ Trending ]

105 more reader comments:

  1. glad to know me being a sub-human is merely politics and not my fundamental rights

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:38pm
  2. Exactly.

    Replied on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:35pm
  3. Boycott the sochi olympics

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:39pm
  4. o fuck off

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:40pm
  5. Just another reason to not watch the Olympics.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:40pm
  6. Olympic chief is concerned about the potential loss of money, nothing else.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:40pm
  7. This has got to be a joke.
    The Olympics it’s self is a very political arena

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:40pm
  8. If the Olympic chief was the one being oppressed, he would feel completely different.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:40pm
  9. What a d-bag! I’ve seen videos uploaded by human rights watch which make me lose faith in humanity! thomas bach, rot in hell!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:41pm
  10. Get a life buster!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:41pm
  11. hypocrite!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:41pm
  12. Human rights abuses don’t matter it seems because it costs to fight it while not fighting it makes money,

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:42pm
  13. I love how they call this a political platform when really it is clearly a human rights issue. I don’t know what being gay has to do with political gain.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:42pm
  14. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE OLYPMICS ARE FOR? Politics has EVERYTHING to do with it.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:43pm
  15. Screw you, Bach! If anyone is hurt or worse, it’s on your head! You should have moved the damned games!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:43pm
  16. He can go fuck himself. If his “kind” were being persecuted, that bird would be singing a different song.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:45pm
  17. Shut up and cash your Russian blood money check you skeevy IOC bastards

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:45pm
  18. Closeted Gay Man

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:45pm
  19. that is precisely what russia is using them for you dicknipple Bach

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:46pm
  20. Screw the Olympics. Giving the games to Russia amid its abysmal track record of human rights issues was as much a mistake as it was giving them to China. They deserve all of the blow-back this generates.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:46pm
  21. Putin u build structures in a record 5 years and can not be enjoyed with all the hate showering over it.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:46pm
  22. Maybe we should just wait until the Russians start building ovens for their final solution.. FUCK THE OLYMPICS!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:47pm
  23. Bach has become a pawn of Putin.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:48pm
  24. Too bad!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:49pm
  25. too bad he didn’t have the testicles to move the games!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:49pm
  26. IOC -homophobic greedy sociopaths.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:50pm
  27. …and what about the Olympic Committee choosing such a dreadful, anti-human rights city to host the Winter Games? Afghanistan has snow this time of year, why didn’t they just to hold the games there?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:50pm
  28. I think he is more worried about loss of revenue. Fuck the Olympics.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:50pm
  29. But it is OK for Russian– HATE FILLED PIECES OF HOMOPHOBIC SHIT to do that VERY THING? I hope every winner carries a RAINBOW FLAG TO THE PLATFORM. BACH is a MAGGOT.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:51pm
  30. here’s a thought mr. bach … go f”k yourself … i am actually ashamed that my canadian olympic team didn’t have the balls to refuse to participate in the games this year on the grounds that no one deserves to be beaten or killed for being who they are and they certainly don’t deserve to have this happen while their own government condones it … shame on you mr. bach for not removing the games from russia until they decided to step into the 21st century and show some common decency to their own citizens

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:51pm
  31. i agree this is not just about gay rights this is about human rights they can go around and bash and kill and get away with no matter if there gay or not

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:51pm
  32. And screw the IOC for not taking seriously the issues going on in Russia.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:51pm
  33. So, he’s totally ok with how Nazi Germany turned out after hosting the games, right?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:51pm
  34. Then don’t hold the Olympics in a country as ignorant as Russia…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:51pm
  35. The Twat’s in putins pocket!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:53pm
  36. After this I’ll NEVER support the Olympics.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:53pm
  37. russians should be celibate

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:53pm
  38. Olympic shmuck.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:54pm
  39. will not be watching and Olympic committee should be ashamed of their choice choosing a homophobic place to have people where their lives could be at risk if they are in the LGBTQ community!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:54pm
  40. Well, that’s the last part of any remaining respect I had for the IOC gone – forever!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:55pm
  41. Tool.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:55pm
  42. Here was I under the impression the modern Olympics were a stage for international togetherness, the sharing of good will to all not the few where everyone is equal to each other. The Olympics are about togetherness not excluding of minorities, and above all the charter “Respect for universal ethical principles” Russia have flagrantly disregarded this.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:55pm
  43. I just wrote this on another post. The IOC is totally political, only out for money & they knew fully what Putin was all about. Bach is a fu* king liar.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:57pm
  44. What a pathetic boot-lick! His “legacy” is already circling the drain.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:57pm
  45. so the politics of hatred and exclusion are fine, but humanity and inclusion are “political”, and as such are unacceptable. fuck off.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:58pm
  46. I completely agree with using it as a platform for human rights. I personally will not be watching the Olympics because of Russia’s stance and I support anyone else who chooses or chooses not to do the same thing. Put yourself in the shoes of a gay olympian, they can not go to their loved ones and hug or kiss for a job well done in fear if repercussions that may come from Russia. More people should have stood up and defended human rights 5 years ago when we knew it would be an issue! I also will not support the companies that are funding the Olympics to b held in Russia, if anyone could have stepped in and done something it was them and they choose not to until it became an issue and they were being banned because of it. Now they want to realise adds supporting human rights when they clearly didn’t care before.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:59pm
  47. We shouldn’t be there. It’s like saying the US agrees with Russia’s stance on gays!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:00pm
  48. F**k Him, he’s a bumb and a mobster

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:00pm
  49. Bach should be ashamed. You are giving credibility to discrimination whether you own up to it or not.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:03pm
  50. Yeah? And I bet millions of Jews wished they had. But crickets back then because the games were more important than human life. And, as we can all see, the IOC has not changed one bit.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:05pm
  51. The IOC president needs to ask himself why, and how, they selected Sochi for the winter olympic games? Seriously!!! That was nothing but a political move!!! Hey, asshole, did it work for you?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:05pm
  52. Impeach Thomas Bach. His narrow-minded opinions alone should disqualify his IOC position.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:06pm
  53. LMAO. IDIOTS. They said the same thing when they were in Nazi Germany…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:06pm
  54. Has this moron heard of Berlin 1936?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:11pm
  55. Sorry not to see the athletes represent my countries (Canada and Australia) but I will be boycotting Sochi.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:11pm
  56. FUCK THE OLYMPICS.. ITS ALL FOR PROFITS…. NOBODY CARES ABOUT WHO’S THE BEST. its all just a dog and pony show…. for all the happy little drones.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:13pm
  57. HELL YEAH!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:13pm
  58. Pot meet kettle

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:15pm
  59. These laws were past after Russia was chosen, even though I can’t stand the country and their laws I support all the athletes that work hard for years to get there

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:18pm
  60. Olympic chief has a vested self interest in maintaining the status quo. Human rights is such a pesky interference.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:20pm
  61. Political platform? I didn’t know the rights of human beings was political.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:20pm
  62. Olympics has always been about politics, no big surprise.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:24pm
  63. Olympic Chief is in bed with Putin! What an obnoxious comment! IOC needs to jettison this creep!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:24pm
  64. And they use it as a cash cow to collect money and bribes…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:25pm
  65. Today I watched the Scottish Parliament legalise equal marriage online broadcasted live from the parliament. Time after time MSPs said by passing this bill we send out to a clear message to the world that we support LGBT citizens and that we have created a fair Scotland. Scotland doesn’t stand as a nation for homophobia and I think it’s right that we send out a clear message to places were humans are not treated equally.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:25pm
  66. “F” Him….I will never watch the Olympics again or buy products from it’s bigoted sponsors. If you stand for nothing, you still stand for something = nothing! BS!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:27pm
  67. Thomas Bach is as big of a foolish, hateful, repugnant human being as Mr. Putin himself!!! Worthless slime…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:27pm
  68. What games?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:28pm
  69. So….water DOES seek it’s own level…Someone needs to tell them that they will NOT make pretty babies….imo

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:28pm
  70. Haha- and I thought Putin was the bitch.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:28pm
  71. Well President Bach, when you pick a place that has severe human rights problems, don’t expect people of good conscious to be quiet.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:29pm
  72. This IOC chief is flat out wrong! If that was the case, why do IOC prevent Siuth Africa from participating under apartheid? Human rights are just that! What a fool and he needs to go! He is detrimental to the future of the Olympics!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:32pm
  73. Yet Russia is involving the olympics politically

    Fail

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:32pm
  74. Bach is part of the problem!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:33pm
  75. Everybody is whining about the Olympics in Russia yet I don’t remember any protests over the same issue in 2002 in Salt Lake City, in fact why don’t we focus our energy on the same issues we are facing here at home?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/02/03/eight-u-s-states-have-policies-similar-to-russias-ban-on-gay-propaganda/

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:36pm
  76. I feel sorry for the citizens of Russia. Man, they have so much to deal with. At least I can sit here with my gay self and say: Fuck you, Russia!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:37pm
  77. Bach is an idiot. He is allowing the IOC to violate one of their own rules by allowing the Olympics to be held in a country that is suppressing gays with violence. Like many others on here I will not be watching the games, but I will be watching for articles about protests over there so I can show my support that way.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:38pm
  78. What would he have said about having the 1940 Olympics in Germany?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:38pm
  79. Good point. He'd say, "that's different". That's the problem with homophobia and all bigotry, racism, etc. They just, don't, get it.

    Replied on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:40pm
  80. putin sucks

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:39pm
  81. Someone please tell this asshole that civil right are political and that the shit for brains idiots at the IOC brought this on themselves.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:41pm
  82. It’s a changing world, get used to it!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:41pm
  83. too fucking bad

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:44pm
  84. Breaking: Olympic chief is a moron.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:59pm
  85. Really? What an ass! #Boycott

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:01am
  86. Pretty harsh criticisms made by Bach against those supposedly politicizing the games. Funny, I didn’t read anything in the article about him scolding Putin for publicly announcing the anti-gay propaganda laws so soon before hosting games which started this whole mess. No, the athletes shouldn’t be held responsible for one man’s point-of-view, as bigoted and ignorant a point-of-view as it may be. But, neither should Bach or anyone else expect those who find the treatment of gays in Russia appalling to just stay silent. Russia will hosting the world during the games, and instead if putting on their best face and just keeping their collective intolerant mouth shut, you get dictator Putin spewing his hate-speech and using the world-stage to very publicly state his disgust of an entire group of people. So yeah, screw you Putin and screw you Bach. Have a little integrity and call Putin out his bullshit as well.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:02am
  87. For the last week I have ran a the same post to a lot of different sights on a lot of different subjects. Why because I want people to think about a certain issue, the rights of homo sexual as the heterosexuals think what we deserve. this is what I said: I think str8 people should be punished or charged with child abuse. only str8 people give birth to homo sexual children….. this is what I wanted it to do. it made you think about it and now its in your mind. I just want people to know we the homo sexual did not make the problems that say what rights go to who. so i brought up the source of it all.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:09am
  88. The hell with the IOC. They do not stand for anything.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:15am
  89. The IOC and it’s leader are douche bags.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:19am
  90. I’m done with the games. Permanently.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:29am
  91. Good to see the IOC President has his head in the right place… firmly wedged up his own ass.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:35am
  92. We need to come up with a new arena and events for our athletes that is truly politically free. An event that truly celebrates the hard work, training, and discipline these athletes put themselves through. Let’s call it, “Unity Games”.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:36am
  93. Two twerps.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:37am
  94. Money, money, money …. that’s all the IOC really cares about!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:43am
  95. I slam them both for abusing human rights of gays and others in Russia.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:49am
  96. I admire a great athlete but the Olympics are a definite political platform. This dictatorship in Russia and it’s bigoted leader should be relegated to the hateful level they preach.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:54am
  97. we should boycott on so many levels. our citizens are not going to be safe, human rights ,, humane animal treatment,, how much uglier can it get?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 12:58am
  98. Ummmmm… yeah, OK!!@#!?¿?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:06am
  99. If Thomas Bach had his way he would ban Israelis athletes from The Olympic Games http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-olympic-chief-heads-arab-german-trade-group-set-up-to-boycott-israel/

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:08am
  100. The IOC and the world stood by when the Nazis celebrated the Olympics while millions were dying outside their heralded and storied venues. We will neither accept nor tolerate faux indignation when it happens again. Stand up. Stand strong. Be the world and conscience that deserves a wreath of olive leaves.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:13am
  101. IOC and Putin both are pigs.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:13am
  102. fuck the olympic chief!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:24am
  103. Nha. Hitler’s experience demonstrate that there is NO POLITICS linked to the Olympics.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:43am
  104. Wonder how much money Putin gave him to his Off Shore Account? Hmmmm

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:44am
  105. then tell Putim to rescind, after he is the biggest political player.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 1:46am