Sixteen Olympic athletes are calling on the International Olympic Committee to promote equality and boldly stand for human rights.
The athletes, including skier Mike Janyk, tennis player Andy Roddick, basketball player Steve Nash and soccer player Megan Rapinoe, made the request in a letter to IOC president Thomas Bach.
The request took place as two groups – Athlete Ally and All Out – launched the Principle 6 campaign.
Principle 6 in the Olympic charter states, “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”
Organizer Andre Banks, executive director and co-founder of All Out, said, the campaign “is a way for Olympians and fans to stand up for equality and protest the heinous Russian laws. Through Principle 6 we can mobilize and inspire mass support for the ideals set forth in the Olympic Charter. Even if the International Olympic Committee won't act, people around the world will.”
The Principle 6 campaign seeks from the IOC a statement of what actionable steps it will take to uphold the charter and clarification of whether people “can be who they are at the Sochi Games" in Russia, where newly enacted legislation makes it a crime to promote "gay propaganda."
“Helping to craft this petition to IOC President Bach is an important part of my work as an ambassador for Athlete Ally and very much in step with being an Olympian,” said Cameron Myler, a four-time Olympian who carried the U.S. flag in in the 1994 Lillehammer Games. “Standing by idly while the values of the Olympic movement are in question is not an option for me and many others.”
Hudson Taylor of Athlete Ally said, "We are launching the Principle 6 campaign with Olympic athletes because their action affirms the duty and honor of Olympic Movement. They are leaders, and just like they do in their fields of play, Olympians always seem to find new ways to inspire us.”