IOC Member Says Russia's 'Antigay Stuff' Is Overblown
A Canadian member of the International Olympic Committee told Canada's Metro News that media have failed to stir up the controversy they had hoped to by highlighting Russia's anti-LGBT laws, so the international press has turned its focus to the threat of terrorist attacks on the Winter Olympics, set to begin in Sochi, Russia next month.
"Nobody has got anything else to write about and for some reason as they have sort of moved away from the antigay stuff," IOC member Dick Pound told Metro News Wednesday. "I think it’s not drawing the kind of attention that they wanted."
Pound went on to list several other countries that have harsher laws regarding LGBT people, noting, "In Malaysia, you can be put to death. In Nigeria, you can be put in jail for God knows how long."
"So it’s a target of convenience with respect to Russia," continued Pound. "Not that I approve of the law, but putting it on a scale of 1-10 of odious laws, it’s not way up there near 10."
Pound also worked in a jab at the United States, saying that much of the criticism of Russia's nationwide ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" in areas visible to minors is coming from U.S. states that don't allow same-sex couples to marry. Marriage equality has been the law in Canada since 2005.
"So whose ox is getting gored here?” Pound asked.
Pound is a Canadian lawyer who served two terms as vice president of the IOC and was briefly considered for the presidency of the organization. Prior to that engagement, he was president of the Canadian Olympic Committee from 1977 to 1982, according to Canada's official Olympic website. He is a former Olympic competitor, having been a swimmer for Canada in the 1960 Summer Olympics. He was also the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency and has a long history of involvment with professional sports at the national and Olympic levels.