IOC to issue final no protests warning to athletes and participants at Sochi Winter games
LAUSANNE -- The International Olympic Committee's executive board is crafting a letter that contains its final warning against athletes participating in any protests at the Sochi Olympics. According to a spokesperson for the IOC, the board is set to meet Tuesday in Lausanne to make final changes and approvals to the letter.
The letter will then be sent to the national Olympic committees that are sending athletes to the Sochi Games, which run from Feb. 7-23. The memo will focus on Rule 50 in the Olympic Charter, which states: "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas."
"We will give the background of the Rule 50, explaining the interpretation of the Rule 50 to make the athletes aware and to assure them that the athletes will be protected," IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with The Associated Press.
"I know from my own experience, this is key," added Bach, a former Olympic fencer who won a team gold medal for West Germany in 1976. "As an athlete you do not want to be confronted in the Olympic Village or the Olympic Stadium with any kind of political controversies."
Critics charge that athletes who so much as wear a rainbow pin supporting Russia's LGBTQ community could face expulsion from the Games or the loss of their medals, but the IOC says that rule will be "interpreted and applied sensibly and proportionately."