Whoops, someone at the Olympics seems to have gone a little off-message this week.
“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 told a committee. “The games should not be an occasion and a stage to promote rights that sports supports daily.”
Later, he added, “I just wanted to make the point not to let politics interfere with the Olympics.”
This is a common refrain from Olympic apologists: the event should be about sports, sports, and sports, never about anything else.
This is, of course, a bizarre fantasy. The idea that they have somehow created an event that is immune to politics — well, no such event has ever existed and never will. Saying “it’s not political” doesn’t make it true.
Besides which, as “political” stunts go, arranging for three highly-qualified LGBT athletes to appear together in public is a pretty mild demonstration.
Pescante, by the way, has in the past arranged talks between Israeli and Palestinian Olympic officials. Nothing political about that.