In an interview with foreign journalists less than three weeks before the opening of the Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin reiterated that Russia would welcome all athletes and visitors, regardless of their sexuality, saying:
"People have different sexual orientation. We will welcome all athletes and all guests of the Olympics."
By way of example, he praised Elton, who is openly gay, as "an outstanding person and outstanding musician."
"Millions of our people sincerely love him despite his orientation," he added.