IOC president says gays will be welcomed equally at Sochi Games
• Thomas Bach has received assurances from Vladimir Putin
• Russian president in talks after anti-gay law controversy
Press Association; theguardian.com, Wednesday 30 October 2013 21.20 GMTt
Thomas Bach is confident there will be no discrimination against gay athletes and visitors at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The International Olympic Committee president said he had received assurances from Vladimir Putin that everyone travelling to the February event would be welcomed equally "regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation".
The German met with the Russian president on Monday to seek assurances over Russia's controversial anti-gay law, which has overshadowed the build-up to the Games.
Bach said in a statement from the IOC: "All visitors travelling to Sochi for the Games regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation will be welcomed here equally – this has been made very clear by the Russian authorities.
"The Games themselves are open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media, and, of course, athletes. This is a principal pillar of the Olympic movement that will be upheld in Sochi."
The law, which was enacted in June and prohibits "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors", has been widely condemned. It hit the headlines during August's World Athletics Championships in Moscow and led to calls to boycott the Games amid fears that gay athletes and visitors could be discriminated against.