The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

February 4, 2014

IOC slams politicians over Sochi Olympics

— SOCHI, Russia — IOC President Thomas Bach accused world leaders Tuesday of using the Sochi Olympics as a political platform “on the backs of the athletes,” and of snubbing the games without even being invited.

Three days before the opening of Russia’s first Winter Games, Bach used a hard-hitting speech to call out politicians for using the Olympics to make an “ostentatious gesture” serving their own agendas.

Without naming any individuals, Bach’s comments appeared directed at President Barack Obama and European politicians who have taken stands against Russia’s law banning gay “propaganda” among minors.

The Olympics, Bach said, should not be “used as a stage for political dissent or for trying to score points in internal or external political contests.”

“Have the courage to address your disagreements in a peaceful direct political dialogue and not on the backs of the athletes,” he said at a ceremony attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin. “People have a very good understanding of what it really means to single out the Olympic Games to make an ostentatious gesture which allegedly costs nothing but produces international headlines.

“In the extreme, we had to see a few politicians whose contributions to the fight for a good cause consisted of publicly declining invitations they had not even received.”

The buildup to the Olympics has been overshadowed by Western criticism of the anti-gay law and Russia’s record on human rights and other issues, making Sochi among the most politically charged games in years.

Obama and key European leaders are shunning the Olympics. Obama, in a clear message against the anti-gay laws, has sent a delegation to Sochi made up of three openly gay athletes — tennis great Billie Jean King, 2006 Olympic hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow and figure skater Brian Boitano.

For the first time since 2000, the U.S. delegation to an Olympics will not include a president, vice president or first lady. Former Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano leads the delegation.

German President Joachim Gauck and French President Francois Hollande are also not coming to Sochi. Neither is British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Bach reiterated again that Putin had given the IOC assurances that the Olympic Charter would be upheld during the games and that homosexuals would not be discriminated against.

Bach said Olympic values stand against any form of discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation.

But he stressed the IOC must be “politically neutral without being apolitical” and that athletes must not use the Olympic Village and venues for “political demonstrations.”

The IOC has come under criticism for not doing more to fight the anti-gay law, but Bach said the committee was a sports organization with limited responsibilities.

“We are not a supra-national government,” he said. “We are not a superior world-parliament. We do not have a mandate to impose measures on sovereign states.”

Bach’s speech was delivered at a ceremony marking the opening of the IOC’s three-day session, or general assembly, ahead of the games. The German’s sharp comments marked a strong contrast with the relatively anodyne, diplomatic speeches of his predecessor, Jacques Rogge.

Bach, winner of a fencing gold medal at the 1972 Olympics, was elected in September to succeed Rogge, who served for 12 years.

Bach acknowledged there had been “a lot of skepticism in and outside the IOC” when Sochi was awarded the Olympics in 2007.

“Now, seven years later, we can see that Sochi, that Russia has delivered,” he said.

Putin lauded the IOC’s decision to bring the games to the Black Sea resort.

“We realize what a difficult decision this was to hold the games in a city that barely had 10 to 15 percent of the necessary infrastructure,” he said. “You believed in us, you believed in the Russian character which can overcome all difficulties.”

“In the space of five years,” Putin added, “we built world-class sports venues and city infrastructure that normally takes decades to build.”

 

1
Text Only
News
  • Porter Another teen says he threw rock on I-80, too

    MIFFLINBURG — The father of the third juvenile charged as an adult in a July 10 rock-throwing attack that left an Ohio woman fighting for her life was apologetic following his son’s arraignment Monday.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victim of rock-throwers making progress

    DANVILLE — Sharon Budd, the 52-year-old Ohio woman fighting for her life after being hit by a rock thrown from an Interstate 80 overpass, is slowly coming around, according to her husband, Randy.

    July 22, 2014

  • Danville train diver left hospital 4 days before suicide

    DANVILLE — The young man who killed himself by diving under an Iron Heritage Festival passenger train underwent treatment in mental health facilities as recently as four days before his death, according to Montour County Coroner Scott E. Lynn.

    July 22, 2014

  • Mayor's dog recovering from attack

    DANVILLE — Bernie and Red Swank have two different routes they take daily when they walk their dogs, and at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday in the 200 block of Water Street, a German shepherd attacked Lex, their white 5-year-old lhasa apso.

    July 21, 2014

  • Basic subsidy for Lewisburg schools down slightly

    LEWISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed executive budget will provide the Lewisburg Area School District with an additional $90,457 from the state, but most of the increase will be reflected in $125,275 to support a Ready to Learn grant.

    July 21, 2014

  • Shikellamy extend deadline for school project

    The Shikellamy District board agreed at a special meeting last Thursday, to extend until Sept. 5, the deadline for the receipt of bid documents for the $17 million Shikellamy Middle School project. Bids were originally scheduled to be opened Tuesday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Second juvenile charged as adult in rock-throwing incident

    MIFFLINBURG — A second juvenile was charged as an adult Monday morning for his alleged involvement a July 10 rock-throwing incident that left an Ohio woman fighting for her life.

    July 21, 2014

  • Midd-West to hire Snook's replacement tonight

    Newport School District’s director of educational services is slated to be hired tonight by the Midd-West School Board to fill the vacant director of curricular and instruction position.

    July 21, 2014

  • rgbcar20abw.jpg My 1st Car Photo Contest Winner

    Maxton Mielke, Sunbury, won the My 1st Car photo contest this week. Photos can be entered in this week's contest: Pet lookalike at www.dailyitem.com/dailyblast. Look for the Outshoot the Experts contest and submit your best photos! Photos can also be submitted on our facebook page or via Instagram and Twitter with #dipets.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Buildup of extraordinary circumstantial evidence" against Russia

    Video of a rocket launcher, one surface-to-air missile missing, leaving the likely launch site. Imagery showing the firing. Calls claiming credit for the strike. Recordings said to reveal a cover-up at the crash site.

    July 21, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.