Martina Navratilova: IOC has its "head in the sand"

Martina Navratilova watches the Ladies Singles Final at Wimbledon on July 6, 2013
© Getty Images
Martina Navratilova urges the International Olympic Committee to "stand up" for the athletes taking part in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has slammed the International Olympic Committee for ignoring the issue of gay rights in Russia.

The IOC has warned athletes participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will take place in Sochi in February, against making political gestures during the event, with the Russian government coming under criticism for its negative view on homosexuality.

"The IOC needs to stand up better for their athletes," the 57-year-old told reporters. "I think we can say that sports and politics are inextricably combined - they go hand in hand - and that's where my disappointment was with the IOC.

"It said sports and politics don't mix, which is completely contrary to everything that's been happening.

"So that's where my disappointment is, more than with anybody else, with the IOC for really putting their head in the sand and not wanting to make any waves."

Navratilova, who came out in 1981, won 18 Grand Slams during her career.

Anne Keothavong
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