The Russian government told the IOC on Aug. 22 that it will not discriminate against gays during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, while defending the law against gay "propaganda."
The Associated Press reported this morning that the IOC received the letter from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, which provided reassurances that Russia will comply with the Olympic Charter's provision against discrimination.
In the letter, according to The AP, Kozak said, "The Russian Federation guarantees the fulfillment of its obligations before the International Olympic Committee in its entirety."
The official did not back down on the new law, which provides for arresting anyone who distributes information aimed at persuading minors that "nontraditional" relationships are normal or attractive. The law applies to everyone and "cannot be regarded as discrimination based on sexual orientation," Kozak said in the letter.
So, athletes and fans still face uncertainty over what statements or gestures they could make without facing arrest.
The games begin on Feb. 7 in Sochi.
Already there are calls from activists to boycott the Olympics, though a number of athletes have urged other ways to protest.
The letter from Kozak was prompted by a request from IOC president Jacques Rogge, who asked the Russian government to clarify how the law would impact the games. Rogge, in a statement, said, "We have today received strong written reassurances from the Russian government that everyone will be welcome at the games in Sochi regardless of their sexual orientation."