Mario Pescante is angry, you guys. The senior Italian member of the International Olympic Committee can’t believe that the United States would take something as silly as basic human rights and turn them into a political issue before the world’s greatest winter sports athletes meet in Sochi next month for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The guy who has made a name for himself as a peace broker between Israel’s and Palestine’s Olympics committees simply won’t stand for someone trying to use a grand stage to promote peace and equality somewhere else in the world.
No sirs, not on his watch.
“It’s absurd that a country like that sends four lesbians to Russia just to demonstrate that in their country gay rights have (been established),” Mario Pescante said at an Italian Olympic Committee meeting in Milan on Wednesday, in comments widely reported by Italian media. “The games should not be an occasion and a stage to promote rights that sports supports daily.” (Via the Associated Press)
I’m not sure if Pescante is intentionally referring to Brian Boitano as a lesbian, but his stance remains firm that no one should ever use the Olympics to promote a political agenda, even if it directly affects some of the athletes competing in Sochi. But don’t get Pescante wrong, he knows that awful stuff happens everywhere. He just wishes that we’d all leave it to the media that’s supposed to be covering the Olympics to cover instead of the Olympics.
“We’ve seen boycotts, concerns over Aborigine rights in Australia, the Tibet issue in China. It’s enough already,”Pescante told The AP. “There are always going to be issues wherever the games are held, but the best way to combat these issues is by letting the games unfold and sending thousands of journalists to these places to report on what is going on there.”
I guess he’s right. It’s not like journalists have ever just completely vanished in Russia before for bringing international attention to corruption and atrocities, so let’s leave the burden on the media and watch Shaun White pull off a gnarly air-to-fakie before we head to the Scorpions concert.
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