The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved a rewording of its Principle 6 on sexual discrimination to beef up its support of homosexuality in what IOC President Thomas Bach of Germany called “a very important step.”
In a unanimous vote, the IOC changed its wording to read, “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
The move came in response to Russia’s anti-gay rhetoric ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The director of a gay rights group called the move a great sign of progress. “There is no greater sign of progress in combating homophobia in sports than to have the oldest organized athletic competition in the history of the world saying enough is enough,” said Hudson Taylor, executive director of gay rights group Athlete Ally.
IOC member Barry Maister of New Zealand said he wasn’t sure if the change of wording would affect Russia’s hosting of the games.
The committee also abolished the 28-sport cap, a move that Tokyo organizers hope might usher in baseball as an Olympic sport. Others hope that softball might make the list.
“Today, there is excitement circulating around the baseball and softball world and there is great hope that our athletes will now have a real opportunity… to play for their country, aiming to win an Olympic gold medal,” the president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, Riccardo Fraccari, told The New York Times.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org