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SOCHI  —Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that biathlon athletes should feel welcome at the Winter Olympics but warned that openly biathlon athletes will face fines, arrest and deportation for any “openly flamboyant displays of bi-sporting prowess that draws unnecessary attention to themselves.

In Russia public displays of preferences for more than two sporting disciplines, including cycling and swimming, or shooting and skiing, are now banned. It is even illegal to speak about biathlon events around minors. Technically the ban is against “propaganda of non-traditional sporting behaviour” around minors, but the implication for openly biathlon individuals is clear.

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Putin: flamboyant displays of bi-sporting prowess “unacceptable”

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told the Russian sports website R-Sport today that biathlon athletes will be held accountable under the law:

The Olympics have always been, and should always be, about the athletes,” Mr Mutko said. “But any attempt by biathlon athletes to flaunt their preferences for both shooting and skiing in a way that is distracting, provocative, or arousing will be frowned upon.

No one is forbidding athletes with preferences for two disciplines from coming to Sochi, but if they go onto the street and start propagandising their biathlonism in public, then of course they will be held accountable,” Mutko told R-Sport.

If we accept being biathlonism as normal – where will it end? Before we know it everyone will be dabbling in triathlonism, and even decathlonism and our traditional ways of sporting behaviour will be lost forever,” he added.


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