Russian former Olympic speed skating champion Svetlana Zhurova has called for the Sochi Winter Games to be about athletics rather than protests, as she thinks campaigning the country’s anti-gay laws holds no interest for spectators at the event.
In an interview with Reuters, the 42-year-old said she has “never seen” this kind of protest at the Olympic Games before.
“I would call on the people who are going to protest, that it doesn’t make sense,” she said.
Ms Zhurova, who is the current honourary “mayor” for the mountain Olympic village, added that it is more important for the spectators “who wins than whether he or her is homosexual or not.”
“We are all participants of the Games and we are going to applaud the straight people and the homosexuals just like the previous Olympic Games.”
However, Ms Zhurova has previously spoken in support of Russia’s anti-gay law, saying in a previous interview on Russian television: “I just think they shouldn’t show a cartoon on TV — excuse me, I have two boys — where a king loves another king.”
President Vladimir Putin signed the controversial law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community.