Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has warned spectators and athletes against promoting gay rights during the Olympics, saying it was forbidden by the Olympic Charter and Russian law to spread propaganda during a sporting event.
Amid a furore over Russia's new law that forbids the dissemination of "gay propaganda" to minors, Kozak once again argued that there was no discrimination in Russia based on sexual orientation.
But on Thursday he reminded participants in the Games that the law meant promoting homosexuality among minors was not allowed - a stipulation seen as vehemently homophobic by activists.
"We have no restrictions on citizens' rights based on their sexuality. We are adults here and we can carry out our private lives as we deem necessary," Kozak told reporters.
"They (homosexuals) can make propaganda about their sexual orientation among adults.
"But there is no need to involve children. I have already said this many times," he said.
Despite the simmering controversy, Kozak said he hoped there would be no problems or conflict over the gay controversy during the opening and closing ceremonies or the sporting events themselves.
"Political propaganda during sporting events is forbidden by the Olympic Charter and Russian law," he said.
One day ahead of the official opening of the Games, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a powerful call for equality, saying "we must all raise our voices against attacks" on gays.