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IOC review will look at addressing gay rights issue: Vancouver envoy to Sochi

Openly gay Vancouver city councillor Tim Stevenson pauses while speaking after it was announced he would represent the city at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on December 11, 2013. An openly gay city councillor sent as Vancouver's envoy to the Sochi Winter Games says he met with International Olympic Committee officials and says they understand the need to protect gay rights. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Openly gay Vancouver city councillor Tim Stevenson pauses while speaking after it was announced he would represent the city at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on December 11, 2013. An openly gay city councillor sent as Vancouver’s envoy to the Sochi Winter Games says he met with International Olympic Committee officials and says they understand the need to protect gay rights. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - An openly gay city councillor sent as Vancouver’s envoy to the Sochi Winter Games says he met with International Olympic Committee officials and says they understand the need to protect gay rights.

City councillors in the 2010 host city voted unanimously to send deputy mayor Tim Stevenson to Russia after controversy erupted over the country’s stance on homosexuality.

Stevenson says he met with two high-ranking officials from the office of the International Olympic Committee president.

Those officials told him the IOC will look at including sexual orientation specifically as part of its anti-discrimination policy as part of a sweeping review.

But repeated requests to meet the mayor of Sochi were rebuffed.

Still, Stevenson says a Russian law that bans any public displays of a gay lifestyle has backfired, and focused international attention on gay rights.

© The Canadian Press, 2014