Should the Olympic Games still take place in Sochi, Russia?

by jasnaquenneville on September 10, 2013 - 10:07pm

Should the Olympic Games still take place in Sochi, Russia with the recent creation of laws against homosexuals, endangering the safety of gay Olympic athletes?

The article “Vladimir Putin offers assurances on gay rights in Sochi” focuses on how the new anti-gay law should not affect the athletes participating in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The President Vladimir Putin states that the law only applies to individuals displaying their homosexuality or causing propaganda, such as the use of rainbow flags.  It also prohibits any demonstrations or protests regarding homosexuality, particularly during the Winter Games.  However, the law remains unclear on what is considered to be promoting or supporting homosexuality, resulting in ambiguity when it comes to enforcing the law.

The ethical issue presented in this article concerns gay rights. This issue has become more prominent in the news today, due to the Olympic Games coming up in 2014. With the implementation of this new regulation, there has been some doubt on whether or not the Olympic Games will take place in this location and has caused much doubt amongst gay Olympic athletes for their safety. However, according to this article, the president reassures all athletes are in security while visiting the country, as long as they do not cause propaganda.

The reasons to support the Russian government include that Russia is its own sovereign country and is allowed to create its own laws. When individuals enter any other foreign country, they have to abide by that state`s laws. Hence, when visiting Russia, one is expected to abide by their rules and regulations. On the other hand, the Olympics is an event that brings people together and does not discriminate towards anybody on any basis. Therefore, this Russian law is going against a basic principle of the Olympic Games. When Russia accepted to be the host country for this multicultural event, one would have anticipated that they would abide by the rules of the Olympic Charter and would not have implemented such a law.

The values that are represented in this ethical issue, from the Russian government perspective, are individual freedom as a country, patriotism and tradition. The ethical principles acknowledged are beneficence, respect for autonomy and the golden rule. From the Olympics viewpoint, the values that are recognized in this issue are fairness, individual freedom, freedom of expression and security. The ethical principles include do no harm, the greater good, respect for autonomy of the athletes and the golden rule.

In my opinion, I believe that if the athletes’ safety and security are at stake to compete in an event, than the Olympic Games should consider relocating the event to another country. Individuals should not be afraid to pay huge fines or be thrown in jail, on the basis of who they are and how they display it. States welcoming world-wide, international events such as the Olympic Games should not divide people by laws but unite them. According to the Olympic Charter, it states that “Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind…” and that “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”  These statements clearly demonstrate that athletes, within this competition, should be treated equally and not be discriminated against because of their sexuality. How can we as a world come together for an international event, where inequality and discrimination are allowed and a specific group of peoples’ safety are in danger?

Berry, Lynn. “Vladimir Putin offers assurances on gay rights in Sochi.” The Associated Press Sept.4th, 2013. CBC. Sept. 8th, 2013.

Comments

Hello jasnaquenneville,

I really think that your blog post brings up a social issue that isn’t getting enough attention in my opinion. I agree with you when you say that the Games should re-locate. I have seen horrible YouTube videos of the Russian authority and how they treat their gay citizens. It ‘s disturbing.
The Olympic games brings in a lot of attention to a country. From that, the country makes a great amount of economical revenue. I don’t think that we should grant Russia with this privilege, not only for some of the athlete’s safety, but also for the fact that other countries might see this as an open opportunity that discrimination is tolerated by the world.
I found a very good organization that helps LGBT youth in sports and it’s called You Can Play. This type of discrimination does not just happen in Russia. It is important to note that on a smaller scale there are a lot of gay athletes who have trouble coming out. In addition to that, some LGBT youth refuse to start sports because they are afraid of what people are going to say about them in the locker room.
We would expect, as a nation, that by 2013 this issue would have been resolved. Obviously it hasn’t been. I think that Russian citizens should fight for their freedom. It would be foolish on the World’s part to grant Russia with an opportunity to showcase that what they are doing is seen as acceptable.
Here is a link to that organization's website!
http://youcanplayproject.org

To begin, I think that the topic you chose to write on is very interesting. At first I did not understand why the Olympic Games were compromised if they took place in Russia, but by reading the question, it caught my attention. Furthermore, I believe that you are right to say that if the athletes’ rights and safety are compromised during their stay in Russia, they should think about relocating their event elsewhere. Since the Olympic Games is an international event where people are reunited and where no discrimination of any kind is made, athletes should not feel discriminated by the Russian government for their sexual orientation or their race. Principles and rights that apply to this issue are the Golden Rule, Do no harm, and the right for autonomy. The Golden Rule, which is “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself”, can be applied in this case, since gay athletes would like to be treated like others and not feel any kind of discrimination. This means that these athletes would like to be treated as anyone else would be. I believe that Russian gay people would want to be respected, as the gay athletes would want to be too. Also, the principle of “Do no harm” is a good example of why the event could need to be relocated, because discrimination should not be tolerated in these games. Gay people should have the same rights as everybody else, because they are not different from one another. The right for autonomy is very important in this context, because gay athletes would want to do the same things as anybody else, without any prejudice or discrimination because of their sexual orientation. They should not feel diminished in any possible way. Finally, if the games were to still take place in Sochi, Russia, how do you think these athletes would be received? Even if President Putin pleads that the law on gay rights should not discriminate any gay athletes to participate in these games, do you think that there could be any conflicts during the Olympic Games?

I displayed an interest to this article because I watch the Olympics religiously and I've been following similar stories. As strong as the argument is for Russia being its own sovereignty, and that it's internal laws should be respected more than anything else, I believe otherwise. In my opinion, people should be free to express anything they want, as long as they're not shutting down someone else. They can fly gay pride flags as long as they're not doing so in a way that puts down being straight. I believe that everyone has a right to express their own values and feelings. I don't think that governmental laws should put down the beliefs and values of any single person, however will Russia's new laws cause conflict with athletes at this years Winter games?

When I saw the title of this post, I immediately felt the need to read it because I know many countries did think about boycotting or re-locating the Sochi Games and being a fan of the Olympics, this subject was appealing to me. First off, I would just like to say that re-locating the Games at this point in time is just unrealistic. The amount of money put into organizing those Games is huge and so is the preparation. Therefore, the option that was considered by most countries thus far to protest this law was to boycott the Games. In my opinion, boycotting, while sending a message, is unfair to the athletes, who have trained for most of their lives to participate in such events. Thus, in my opinion, the value of collective responsibility in this case is smaller than the individual freedom. I think the best way to demonstrate solidarity towards homosexuals is to simply never offer Russia the privilege of hosting the Games in the future as they clearly do not reflect the values of equality and respect that the Games promote. I think it would be the most rational solution, don't you?