BY LAURA MILLS, ASSOCIATED PRESS
SOCHI, Russia -- The International Olympic Committee doesn't have the authority to intervene in Russia's law banning gay propaganda and is convinced there will be no discrimination against athletes or spectators at the Winter Games in Sochi, a top Olympic official said Thursday.
Jean-Claude Killy, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission, gave his stamp of approval of Russian preparations for the games during a news conference at the conclusion of the commission's 10th and final visit to Sochi before the Olympics, which begin on Feb. 7.
Russia has come under scrutiny as the next host of the Olympics because of the law passed this summer outlawing "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors," which many worry may apply to gay athletes and visitors to the games.
Killy said the commission considered the issue carefully and in the end was fully convinced that Russia will respect the Olympic charter, which prohibits discrimination of any kind. He said the IOC had received written assurances from Russian officials there would be no discrimination.
"The Olympic Charter states that all segregation is completely prohibited, whether it be on the grounds of race, religion, color or other, on the Olympic territory," he said in French.
"That will be the case, we are convinced. Another thing I must add: the IOC doesn't really have the right to discuss the laws in the country where the Olympic Games are organized. As long as the Olympic Charter is respected, we are satisfied, and that is the case."