From Euan McKirdy
Google has made a bold statement against discrimination on its home page.
The search giant's rainbow Olympic-themed logo, posted to mark the first day of the Sochi Winter Games, sends a powerful message of support for not only gay athletes competing in the games, but for the gay community at large and its supporters.
The company often changes its logo to reflect current events or to mark significant anniversaries. The latest "Google doodle" features images of athletes involved in Winter Olympic events, against a backdrop colored like the rainbow flag, the adopted symbol of the movement for gay rights.
Unlike the current iteration, Google doodles usually conform to the company logo's color scheme.
Under the search bar, the company quotes the Olympic Charter, which promises all athletes the right to practice sport.
"The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play," the Charter excerpt reads.
The quoted paragraph is the fourth in the Charter's "fundamental principles of Olympism" (pdf).
The colored logo is a direct rebuke to Russian president Vladimir Putin's government, whose recently-introduced anti-gay legislation, the so-called anti-gay propaganda law, has been a focal point of critics of these Games. Opponents argue that the laws that Putin's government enacted last year are in contravention to the spirit of the Games.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, recently warned both spectators and athletes against promoting gay rights during the Olympics. Last month Anatoly Pakhomov, the Mayor of Sochi, drew ridicule by suggesting that the city was devoid of gay people.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, used his speech to the International Olympic Committee on Thursday to offer support to the LGBT community, saying that "many professional athletes, gay and straight, are speaking out against prejudice."
Google's undisputed position as the world's most-used search engine means that this is a rebuke that may be seen by billions.
The Sochi Winter Olympics officially open today and will run until the 23rd of February.
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