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SBD Global/August 7, 2013/Olympics

IOC To Use 'Quiet Diplomacy' With Russia To Ensure Games Not Affected By Anti-Gay Law

IOC VP and IOC presidential candidate Ng Ser Miang said Monday that the IOC is engaged in "quiet diplomacy" with Russian leaders to make sure the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics are not affected by the country's new anti-gay legislation, according to the AP. Ng said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's government "has much at stake in the 2014 Olympics" and will not want to do anything that jeopardizes the success of Russia's first Winter Games. Ng said, "The IOC has made a very strong point that they will be against any action that would discriminate against participants at the Sochi Games, whether it's officials, media, visitors or the athletes." Ng said Sochi IOC coordination commission Chair Jean-Claude Killy has been in talks with the "highest authority in Russia" to resolve the issue. As the IOC's point man on the Sochi Olympics, "Killy has forged strong ties with Putin." Ng said that "that relationship is crucial in the talks on the anti-gay issue." Ng: "I would not want to pre-empt the outcome of the negotiation. It's more effective to make sure that both sides have room to view the issue, and with six months to go, you definitely do not want to make any move that would jeopardize the Games." Some politicians and critics of Putin have called for a boycott of the Sochi Games, "an idea that has not gained support in the Olympic world." Ng: "I think the idea of a boycott is misplaced. We have learned from history that the ones who really suffer will be the athletes who have spent years preparing for the Games" (AP, 8/5).
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