February 2014 will see Sochi, Russia, host the Winter Olympics for the first time and many people including athletes are worried about potential protests and riots over the state of Russia's gay rights laws.
It was feared that Russian officials would ban homosexual athletes from the games but this hasn't materialised. Instead, as normal in Russia there is a ban on all homosexual propaganda, as some Russians believe that information about homosexuality can influence a child's sexual orientation. Homosexuality has only been decriminalised in Russia since 1993 and it was only declassified as a mental illness in 1999.
In a recent TV interview, Russian President, Vladimir Putin commented on the laws governing homosexuality in Russia, "We don't have a ban on non-traditional sexual relations," he said. "We have a ban on promoting homosexuality and paedophilia among minors".
He went on to say, “There are no fears for people with this non-traditional orientation who plan to come to Sochi as guests or participants".
In August 2013 four female Russian athletes, during the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, kissed each other on the podium after winning the 4 x 400 metre relay in protest of the laws presiding over homosexuality in the country.
It's safe to say that Sochi 2014 will be a spectacular event and we'll have to hope that it goes smoothly, without being remembered as the 'anti-gay Olympics'.
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