Will athletes be allowed to voice political opinions during press conferences at the Sochi Olympics? The answer is…
… [building suspense here]
…nobody freakin’ knows.
In case you missed the news, Thomas Bach, head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), made an announcement earlier in the week that seemed to suggest Sochi athletes would be permitted to make political statements during press conferences. Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of the Sochi organizing committee, quickly countered by saying athletes could only make political statements in the sanctioned “protest zones” 11 miles away from the main competition area.
Uh-oh! Sounds like what we have here is failure to communicate.
In an attempt to clarify the situation, the Sochi organizing committee issued a statement on Thursday saying Chernyshenko misspoke:
The Sochi 2014 Organising Committee would like to clarify comments attributed to Dmitry Chernyshenko yesterday concerning athletes being able to express themselves during press conferences. Sochi 2014 are fully aligned with the position of the International Olympic Committee. Mr Chernyshenko simply meant that athletes are free to express themselves at a press conference – but of course they cannot use a press conference to make a demonstration or protest – similarly, they cannot use any Olympic venue to demonstrate (Inside the Games).
Okay, so athletes can “express” themselves in press conferences, but they can’t “demonstrate” or “protest.” Gotcha. There’s obviously no confusing grey area in that dichotomy. Adjust your plans accordingly, athletes.
[Source: Inside the Games]