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Updated: Mon, 10 Feb 2014 12:02:07 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Gay councillor Tim Stevenson says Sochi mayor refused meeting



Vancouver Counc. Tim Stevenson says the IOC was very receptive during his visit to Sochi, but the mayor refused to meet with him and other delegates from Vancouver advocating for gay rights and pride houses at Olympic events. CBC

Vancouver Counc. Tim Stevenson says the IOC was very receptive during his visit to Sochi, but the mayor refused to meet with him and other delegates from Vancouver advocating for gay rights and pride houses at Olympic events. CBC

Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson is back from his trip to Russia, where he says he had a very successful meeting with IOC officials, but not everyone was willing to meet with the openly gay politician.

Stevenson says even though he tried, Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov said he didn't have time to meet with the delegation from Vancouver.

"You name it, we would meet anytime, middle of the night, morning, night, it not only didn't work out. He totally blew us off," Stevenson said on Sunday shortly after arriving at Vancouver International Airport.

Stevenson's goal is to change the IOC charter to include greater rights for gay athletes. He said the IOC is open to making the changes.

"Sexual orientation being put in the charter is definitely on the table, it was reiterated to us four or five times."

Vancouver and Whistler were the first two cities to have Olympic pride houses, but gay rights issues have risen to the forefront at the Sochi Games because of Russia's anti-gay laws.

Stevenson was accompanied by Pride House Mission project manager Maureen Douglas, who also said meetings with the IOC were positive, including support for pride houses.

"They respected the amount of success these Games had ... it was good for the IOC and good for the Games what Vancouver 2010 brought, and Sochi has been a challenge."

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