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Combating Hate Speech in Sport: Ioannis Melissanidis gets onboard of the #Sport Spreads Respect project

Strasbourg, France 6 October 2022
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@Council of Europe

@Council of Europe

The Olympic gold medallist in artistic gymnastics and Greek sport legend Ioannis Melissanidis met the management of the Council of Europe Sport Division and “Combating Hate Speech in Sport” joint project.

Mr Melissanidis is proposed by the Greek government to be one of the #Sport Spreads Respect public figures for the project. He met with the team members of the Sport Division as well as with the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Division (SOGI).

Ioannis made history in 1996 when becoming the youngest Olympic champion in the history of male gymnastics. He has two vaulting exercises named after him by the International Gymnastic Federation and paved the way for future generations in his advocacy to combat hate speech in sport. Coming out as a gay man, he is a prominent activist and a national symbol for the rights of LGBTQI+ athletes. His participation in the project will reinforce the impact of our work and the role played by stakeholders.

The "Combating Hate Speech in Sport" Joint Project, co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe, is implemented by the Council of Europe Sport Division. It provides technical assistance to public authorities and sport stakeholders in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Montenegro and Spain.


CoE and EU Sport CoE and EU Sport
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