BERLIN, Germany, Aug 14, 2013 (AFP) – Germany’s former world cycling
champion and London 2012 silver medalist Judith Arndt has criticized Russia’s
laws against homosexuality and called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter
Olympics in Sochi.
In June, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin signed a law against “homosexual
propaganda” punishing any act which educates minors about homosexuality.
The law has been criticized as discriminatory by human rights groups and
drawn criticism from around the world, six months before the Olympic Games in
Sochi in southern Russia.
Arndt criticized the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for awarding the
Games, due to be held from February 7-23, to Sochi.
“We should boycott Sochi,” Arndt told German broadcaster Sport1.
“They simply should not have awarded the Games to Russia.
“In addition to the new laws, the system in Russia is inhumane.
“Countries like that should not be allowed to host these events — the same
goes for China and Beijing in 2008.”
The 37-year-old is in a same-sex relationship and won a time trial silver
medal at the London 2012 Olympics, while she has won three gold medals at
previous world championships.
But Arndt, who did not boycott Beijing in 2008 and actually finished sixth
in the time trial, says athletes will put their own careers over making a
stand and does not think a boycott will take place.
“For athletes, the Olympics is the biggest event and they will put the
event over the human factor, that’s why I don’t believe there will actually be
a boycott,” she added.