Olympians call on Russia to end anti-gay drive


More than 50 Olympians past and present have put their names to a growing petition calling on Russia to cease its crackdown on gays ahead of the Sochi Winter Games.

The online petition, which had gathered more than 405,000 signatures as of Thursday, appears on the websites of global equality group All Out and Athlete Ally, which tackles homophobia in sports.

The two groups also announced protests to be held in Moscow, Sochi, London, Rio de Janeiro and other cities on Feb. 5, two days before the start of one of the most controversial Olympic Games in years.

Among the Olympians past and present who have signed the petition are Sochi-bound snowboarder Belle Brockhoff and bobsleigh pilot Heath Spence, both Australians, along with Canadian skier Mike Janyk.

The full list of Olympians who signed the petition is at the website athleteally.org.