A Russian coach furious about the International Olympic Committee's recent decision to remove wrestling from the 2020 Olympics has made an inflammatory claim about who is to blame for the move.
Speaking to Russian sports site R-Sport, Russian wrestling coach Vladimir Uruimagov said that the IOC's decision was evidence of a gay conspiracy.
“If they expel wrestling now, that means that gays will soon run the whole world,” Uruimagov said, adding that cutting wrestling from the Olympic program was “a blow to masculine origins.”
Uruimagov's allegations follow recent criticism leveled at the IOC for not pushing back hard enough against participating countries that criminalize homosexuality, R-Sport notes.
Meanwhile, Russia's anti-gay propaganda bill, which is expected to pass the legislature, may be indicative of the pervasiveness of homophobia in Russia.
Homosexuality was a criminal offense in the Soviet Union from 1934 until 1993, according to The Moscow Times, resulting in thousands of jail and asylum sentences for members of the LGBT community.
Gay rights advocates have protested the bill, which would ban the "distribution of 'gay propaganda' to minors," the Washington Post reports. However, as the news outlet writes, "opponents fear [it] would make gay pride marches, demonstrations for gay rights and public displays of affection by same-sex couples illegal."
The country is hosting the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which has caused some gay Olympic hopefuls to wonder if they should be concerned, USA Today notes. The Russian Ministry of Justice has already decreed that Sochi will not feature a Pride House the way recent Olympics in Vancouver and London have.