U.S. Olympic Committee Adds Sexual Orientation to Anti-Discrimination Policy

The policy change comes amid controversy over Russia's new anti-gay law

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Rick Bowmer / AP

Scott Blackmun,chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee, speaks with reporters during a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, in Park City, Utah.

The U.S. Olympic Committee added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy amid controversy over new anti-gay laws in Russia, host of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

CEO Scott Blackmun announced the change at the annual address to the USOC Assembly Friday, where he also expressed support for athletes who have spoken out against Russia’s recent ban on  “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” toward minors. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the bill into law this past June. But Blackmun also said the U.S. Committee policy change is not intended to influence Russian law.

The policy, in the “Commitment to Integrity” section, now reads:

“The USOC expects you to conduct yourself in an ethical and legal manner as a representative of the USOC. This requires you to:

Respect the rights of all individuals to fair treatment and equal opportunity, free from discrimination or harassment of any type, including, without limitation discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin or otherwise.”