Amaechi calls for support
John Amaechi, the openly gay ex-NBA star, has made a plea to athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics to influence a change in attitudes in Russia.
There have been calls to strip Sochi of the Games, which are scheduled to take place from February 7 to 23 next year, after Russia in June passed a law making it illegal to give under-18s information about homosexuality.
Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama do not support a boycott, while the International Olympic Committee sought and has received assurances from the Kremlin that the legislation will not impact on the Games.
However, Amaechi described himself as "dismayed" and "distressed" at athletes missing the point of their "larger responsibility", with few willing to speak out against the new laws.
"What we do in practice and competition is only one small part of our job," Amaechi wrote in his blog.
"It is your responsibility - as much as the quest for gold - to show the world that you understand that sport, especially Olympic sport, IS intrinsically political.
"If the Olympics observed it's own principles and by-laws, Sochi would not be eligible to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
"It is your responsibility as you prepare to go to Sochi to publicly acknowledge that your Games happen on the backs of the abuse of migrant workers, the threatening of environmental activists and journalists, the 'disappearance' of Euros 25 billion and indeed, in the context of a country that is facilitating and then ignoring the torture of young gay boys and girls."
Amaechi understands athletes saying they are focused on performing well in the Games - something he wholeheartedly agrees with, while encouraging them to do more - and knows a boycott would not be successful.
Just as at the 1968 Olympics when Tommie Smith and John Carlos threw the global spotlight on racial inequality, Amaechi wants Winter Olympians to use their position for a wider influence.
"I want you to embrace the supposed 'Fundamental Principles of Olympism' and in the IOC's own words "...place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity," he said.
"I understand the logical, principled stand behind a call for a boycott, but I see it as impractical, politically untenable and if attempted, at best, piecemeal.
"I have also spoken to several key Russian activists who want the Games to go ahead so that the athletes can compete, win and most importantly when they take those podiums - stand for something more than their personal and national glory."