VANCOUVER — Reuters
Published Friday, Aug. 02 2013
Canadian Olympians will march in the Vancouver Pride Parade this weekend in a display of solidarity with the gay community that would land them in jail or kicked out of next year’s Sochi Olympics.
Alpine skier Mike Janyk and snowboarder Mercedes Nicoll, both members of Canada’s 2006 and 2010 Olympic teams, will join thousands of marchers in the 2010 Olympic city, adding their voices to the growing outrage over Russia’s anti-gay laws.
Foreign competitors and spectators at the 2014 Sochi Olympics will have to abide by a new Russian law banning “gay propaganda.”
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said on Thursday any athletes or visitors to the Winter Olympics found breaking the law would “be held accountable”.
Foreigners can be deported from Russia, in addition to being fined up to 100,000 roubles ($3,000) or held for up to 15 days.
“Seeing what’s going on in Russia it does feel really cool to at least stand up and hopefully have a few people take notice of that,” Janyk told Reuters. “The opportunity came up to go in the Pride parade as an Olympian and I thought, oh that’s a great idea and then all this other stuff came up and it is even more important now.”