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American runner Nick Symmonds broke his previously planned silence on LGBT rights in Russia after taking home the silver medal at this week's World Track and Field Championships in Moscow.
As Outsports reports, Symmonds told Runners World he was a gay ally but would not comment on the antigay propaganda laws that have caught international attention while in Russia. However, after crossing the finish line in the 800-meter run with 1:43.55, the 29-year-old said he would dedicate his medal to his LGBT friends at home.
"As much as I can speak about it, I believe that all humans deserve equality as however God made them," he said to R-Sport. "Whether you're gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights. If there's anything I can do to champion the cause, I will, shy of getting arrested."
He added that he has respect for the Russian government, but he disagrees with the law.
As the date for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, approaches, the International Olympic Committee told athletes yesterday that they could not speak against Russia's antigay laws because of the Olympics' own policies.
Rule 50 of the IOC's charter states, "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas." Athletes found in violation of the rule could be subject to "disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned."