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Top Russian Official Overrules IOC President: Athletes Banned From Protesting

by David Badash on January 29, 2014

in 2014 Winter Olympics,News

Post image for Top Russian Official Overrules IOC President: Athletes Banned From Protesting

The Chief Executive of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, a Russian hand-picked by President Vladimir Putin himself to oversee every detail of the Olympics, says the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was wrong to claim Olympic athletes are allowed to protest.

Organizing chief Dmitry Chernyshenko, a high-ranking government official even prior to Putin elevating him to head the Games, told reporters on a conference call today, “I don’t think they [athletes] are allowed by the Charter to express those views that are not related to the sport at the press conference room.”

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports Chernyshenko’s “position appears to directly contradict International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who said athletes were permitted to make political statements at press conferences.”

Earlier this week, IOC President Thomas Bach had promised that every athlete would have the “freedom of speech.” The Telegraph added that “in his final media address before departing for Russia, Bach made it clear athletes would have a forum to air their views on the many controversies to have dogged Russia in the build-up to his first Games as IOC president.”

Chernyshenko noted that Bach “might have mentioned that there is a rule 50 in the Olympic Charter which limits the expression of any propaganda during the Games.” Reuters reports that “Chernyshenko, who headed Sochi’s successful bid seven years ago, said should athletes want to speak out about issues they could do so in a special location in the city, away from the Olympic venues.”

“What I would call the Sochi speakers’ corner has been organized in Sochi city so that everybody can express themselves,” Chernyshenko said.

That’s far from retaining their “freedom of speech.”

Should an athlete run afoul of the laws, or the Olympic rules, they could be kicked out of the Games — and out of the country, possibly after sitting in jail for a few weeks.

Image via Sochi 2014

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{ 5 comments }

achrontimeless January 29, 2014 at 7:18 pm

"That’s far from retaining their “freedom of speech.”"

Yeah, because we don't have "free speech zones" in the US or anything. Oh wait…

str8grandmother January 29, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Please join the huge global protest on the hashtag #CheersToSochi
This is the hashtag where we Re attacking the sponsors.
The sponsors HAVE to speak UP

SeanLiberty13 January 29, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Welcome to Nazi Russia. No freedom anywhere ever unless you get on your knees to suck off the rancid inhuman egos of the blood thirsty barbarian government trash so grotesque that a maggot wouldn't even touch them for nourishment.

Human beings have the natural born right to say what they want, where they want, how they want, when they want and that barbarian trash better get the f@#k over it. Touch an American athlete for practicing his/her natural right to freedom of speech and we just may be forced to do the same to the shit occupying Russian embassies here in America. Fair warning Dmitry Chernyshenko, you repulsive piece of fascist shit, touch an American and that will be considered an act of war and your ambassadors will be dealt with accordingly as a POW. Choose wisely.

tgflux January 30, 2014 at 1:52 am

The Sochi Games are a clusterf#ck. Just desperately hoping that, on top of everything else, they're not hit by terrorist bloodshed. Feel sorry for the athletes, but I'm not watching…

ragefirewolf January 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Ooooo free speech zones. Very democratic. Lovely >.<

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