NEW YORK – The president of the Sochi organizing committee said Tuesday there will be no repercussions during the Olympics for anyone who wears rainbow pins or rainbow anything in response to Russia's anti-gay legislation.
"For me it sounds funny that someone is saying, 'I am very brave. I will put my rainbow pin on and let me go to the (jail) in Russia because I will be promoting (gay rights) during the Olympic Games,'" Dmitry Chernyshenko told USA TODAY Sports.
"Has anybody noted what kind of uniform game organizers will be wearing?" he said, as he pulled out his iPhone and scrolled to photos of smiling rainbow-hued organizers and then International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach decked out in the rainbow uniform.
Then he showed a photo of the official Sochi gloves — with fingers, you guessed it, colors of the rainbow.
"What else can we add about inclusivity?" he said. "We want the Games to be fairly judged by facts not by rumors."
On Wednesday Bach will speak at the United Nations General Assembly during the adoption of the Olympic Truce. According to the IOC, Bach "will set out his vision and policy remarks about the relationship between sport and politics … the futility of Olympic Games boycotts and future cooperation between the IOC and the UN."
For decades, Sochi was a seaside resort perfect for a Soviet-style summer holiday but little known outside of Russia. The area has undergone a makeover in the last six years to make it a world-class winter sports hub capable of hosting the Olympics in 100 days. Combination photo shows Sochi, Russia in February 2007, bottom, prior to construction of Olympic venues, and the new Olympic Park venue in August, top, for the 2014 Winter Games.
For decades, Sochi was a seaside resort perfect for a Soviet-style summer holiday but little known outside of Russia. The area has undergone a makeover in the last six years to make it a world-class winter sports hub capable of hosting the Olympics in 100 days. Part of the downtown seawall area under renovation. Cranes loom in the background of a countdown clock in downtown Sochi.
Construction continues on Fisht Olympic Stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies. The stadium is named for the highest peak in the main Caucacus mountain range and is planned to seat 40,000 spectators. A newly created alpine village, a cluster of hotels, restaurants and shops, at the base of the Rosa Khutor ski area. The newly built railway station in the Adler district of Sochi. With a race against the clock to complete building works, threats of militant attacks and a controversy over an anti-gay law, Russia faces an unprecedented challenge to defeat its skeptics and hold a successful Olympics in 100 days time.
Officials say the venue is 99% complete. The venue, currently without snow, is served by four snow storage repositories. Newly built hotels situated along a river in Krasnaya Polyana, 60 kilometers east of Sochi. The Black Sea resort has been transformed by preparations for the Olympics, with much of the infrastructure and almost all of the venues built from scratch. Russia spent more than $50 billion on the Games, making them the most expensive in history.
"People don't want to listen," he said. "Those who never read the law can't understand what it is really about. After three times the president of the country explained, in front of the international media, that the interpretation that the law was violating the rights of the LGBT (community) is not correct and there will be no discrimination in Russia whether by religious, gender or sexual orientation.
"We welcome the world. …I can only recommend everyone to come and see for themselves."
"People should not be afraid of painting their nails in a rainbow," Chernyshenko said. Then he showed another picture of the gloves, adding, lightheartedly, that there is "no need to paint nails" as one track athlete did in protest at Moscow's world championships, because each finger is already the color of the rainbow.