Gay skier: Olympic committee ‘didn’t stand up for human rights’ at Sochi Olympics

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Openly gay skier Anja Paerson has claimed the International Olympic Committee failed to stand up for human rights when it allowed the Winter Olympic Games to be held in Russia.

The IOC has been trying to restore its image following the event, which saw huge concerns about the safety of LGBT athletes and spectators.

Earlier this year, a non-discrimination clause was added to the host city contract, and this week the Olympic Charter was amended to explicitly safeguard lesbian, gay and bisexual athletes – adding sexuality to the non-discrimination grounds of “race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise”.

However, Swedish gold medallist skier Anja Paerson is not convinced that the changes mean much at all.

She told CNN: “The Olympic Committee had a huge responsibility in Sochi and they didn’t stand up for human rights.

“They were hiding from the difficult questions. I think at that point they made a lot of wrong choices.”

“I think a lot of athletes were very uncomfortable. I even figured if I should go or not.

“But I made a choice to go. And I stood for being a gay person and I had my family there, I had my son and my wife. I didn’t feel like Russia should choose the way I live.

“Even in alpine skiing I think it’s not talked about enough. From the athlete’s side I think it’s really hard to speak up at the Olympics and I think that’s where we have to have changes.”