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  • Media Watch -- Olympic Sponsors Under Pressure; Reforms for Rio's Slums


    08/22/13

    Critics wonder whether Sochi Olympic sponsors can impact Russia's anti-gay legislation. (Getty Images)
    Russia's Gay Propaganda Ban

    Overall, athletes and political leaders do not agree that a Sochi Olympics boycott is the best course. The New Yorker suggests instead that Olympic sponsors such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Panasonic, Samsung and Visa should “take action on gay rights.” Writer and political strategist Richard Socarides points out that participation from Olympic sponsors “is not required for United States athletes to succeed.” The IOC and “the ten marquee sponsors” for the 2014 Winter Games remain tight-lipped on the issue. Socarides implores corporations to consider Russia’s human rights violations as well as the way “this ugliness” will tarnish their brands.
    • Global outrage over Russia’s anti-gay legislation leads The Telegraph’s Alice Arnold to consider homophobia that exists in her “own backyard.” Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair removed Margaret Thatcher’s infamous Section 28 during his time in office. The section, like Russia’s gay propaganda ban, aimed at “preventing the promotion of homosexuality.” Arnold writes that even though British law may be different now, “that doesn’t mean attitudes are.”
    • Huffington Post writer Ann Duffy explores whether Russia’s “regressive law” will “eclipse all the positive social and environmental initiatives that are part of the 2014 Games' vision.” Duffy cites the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which set a “new sustainability benchmark for the Winter Games.” The Winter Games in Vancouver also placed human rights at the core of its sustainability program. Duffy’s article discusses hopes that the Sochi Olympics will impact human rights in the same way.
    Some Improvements for Rio's Favelas

    Improvements in Rio's slums may attract new investors, but lead to eviction for residents in the area. (Getty Images)
    The Guardian reports that Rio de Janeiro’s previously “no-go neighborhoods have now evolved into real-estate hot-spots.” Statistics show that “rents in the favelas have increased 6.8% more than rent in the wealthy areas over the past two years.” As a result many residents face eviction from their homes to make way for “obscure” construction and investment plans. While some residents welcome reforms and change, others want to fight the eviction proceedings. Fez Tá Pronto Construction System Director Ruban Selvanayagam suggests that “preparations for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics integrate the diverse range of community organizations battling for change.”

    In Other News
    • The International Association of Athletics Federation staged its World Championships last week in Moscow. This event, as well as the United States’ P&G Gymnastics Championships, featured breakthrough performances from several U.S. athletes. Sports Illustrated discusses four athletes “to keep an eye on for the three-year march to the next Olympics.”
    • Mark Poole is one of an estimated “five million people who are taking to green spaces across the United States to play a game that is particularly booming at college level.” CNN talks to Poole about his Olympic hopes for Ultimate. The sport “blends aspects of football and rugby into a dynamic ‘Frisbee’ package.” According to CNN, more than 42 countries play the game. Interest in the sport continues to grow and Poole is confident Ultimate “will become an Olympic sport one day.”

    Compiled by Nicole Bennett.

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