According to All Out, a global non-profit dedicated to the defense of equal rights on basis of sexual orientation, the International Olympic Committee is poised to strengthen its own Olympic Charter. According to a press release from All Out today, a new clause to be added into potential host city contracts will 'include “the prohibition of any form of discrimination, using the wording of Fundamental Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter." This clause will ensure that future host cities must abide by international human rights standards(*) in order to host the games, including the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens and athletes.' This is quoted from the IOC's Sports Director, Christopher Dubi, who went on to say that this addition is 'the result of the experience gained by the IOC in previous editions of the Olympic Games'. Well, that is an understatement for sure to describe the backlash aimed at the IOC during the run-up to Sochi.
That is a surely a huge step in progress, and, would that have been in place ahead of the vote to award the 2014 Games to Russia (and, granted, had Russia had been as volatilely anti-gay in 2007 when that vote was held), would have likely caused considerable conversation and reservation in their bid. Going forward, this will strengthen scrutiny toward future candidates, which could include potential controversial bids from Qatar and from RUS even again. (*'international human rights standards' may be an issue...according to whom when IOC members are often from less-developed nations in that regard)
As much a fan as I am at this news, I'll reserve more celebratory judgement until I see a press release from the IOC themselves, which would hold the members more concretely accountable - and, especially until I see how the individual IOC members take this seriously into account when reviewing bids. That will be the crucial real test of victory for all of us hoping alongside All Out and others that the IOC uphold its charter and lead the world its grand stage of the principle of fairness. The IOC must be fairly content that human rights issues shouldn't be an issue for neither Pyeongchang 2018 nor Tokyo 2020. But, they don't have a lot of time to get comfortable with this potential new watch-dog directive before the next vote on a host site. That vote, for the 2022 Winter Games, is next summer, and 2 of the 3 candidate cities - Beijing and Almaty (KAZ) - leave a bit to be desired in potential controversy on fairness and human rights. My guess is that this new element of concern further solidifies Oslo, the third candidate, as the favorite - and, probably is the one site for which Thomas Bach is crossing his fingers.
This certainly is a victory for All Out and their partners, though, and a publicly proud moment for their long and difficult efforts to raise awareness to the IOC's predicament in Russia leading up to Sochi, and drive subsequent change. Good for them. And, hopefully in the end, good for athletes of all orientations striving to compete without fear of repercussion and in welcomeness.