Image: BBC Sport

Russian state TV channels have issued offensive comments towards openly LGBTQ+ athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Russia is not competing in the 2020 games after being found guilty of state-sponsored doping programmes, however, the country’s state-sponsored TV Olympic commentary has caused a stir for using extremely offensive language.

The insensitive language was used by hosts and personalities on Russian talk shows aired by the country’s two most popular television channels, according to the BBC.

The hosts and guests were heard using slurs and offensive terms such as “perversion,” “abomination,” and “psychopaths” when addressing LGBTQ+ athletes such as Laurel Hubbard and Tom Daley.

Hubbard and Daley were focal points for the disgraceful language by state-TV channel Rossiya 1.

The BBC reported the 60 Minutes programme, airing on July 26, was laden with slurs in reference to athletes part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Alexei Zhuravlyov, a member of the Russian parliament, who appeared on the show said he was “disgusted” by gay and transgender people.

The deputy of the State Duma continued with inflammatory comments, saying: “We stand opposed to all this smut and perversion, strongly opposed,” he said during the show, directly alluding to Hubbard.

The politician also aggressively described LGBTQ+ athletes as an “abomination” and later used an offensive Russian word to describe gay men.

Spiridon Kilinkarov, a former member of the Ukrainian parliament, also issued comments questioning the eligibility of trans athletes at the Olympics.

“I do not think transgender people have any prospects in Russia, because they love men, while Russian men love women,” he said.

60 Minutes show’s presenter, Olga Skabeyeva, also used her platform to suggest the EU had intentionally financially penalised Hungary and Poland by withdrawing funding because “the majority is against homosexuality” in both countries.

Flagrant comments were also said by Channel One host Anatoly Kuzichev who went as far as to wear a wig to insensitively impersonate Hubbard.

Kuzichev went on to labelled transgender people “psychopaths” and stated they should be treated by psychiatrists.

Russia is not officially competing in the 2020 Olympics, however, Russian athletes are able to compete as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). However, they are banned from featuring the Russian flag or anthem.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued a statement taking a stand against the Russian TV state comments, saying: “Discrimination has absolutely no place at the Olympic Games.”

The IOC also said: “We have been in contact with our contractual broadcasting partner in Russia in order to get clarity on the situation and to underline the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter and we are following up accordingly.”

The 2020 Olympic games have featured a record number of out LGBTQ+ athletes and the sporting event has taken measures to create an inclusive environment. The 2020 games also launched an LGBTQ+ hospitality centre Pride House for competing athletes.