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Canadian Olympians march for tolerance at Vancouver Pride Parade

Canadian Olympic alpine skier Mike Janyk of Vancouver tosses a Frisbee while marching in the Vancouver Pride Parade on August 4, 2013.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

Two Olympians representing Canada's Olympic Team marched in Vancouver's Pride Parade today.

Canadian Olympic officials say it was an effort to spread a message of tolerance, acceptance and diversity in light of Russia's anti-gay laws and the upcoming 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.

Alpine skier and 2010 Olympian Mike Janyk and two-time Olympian snowboarder Mercedes Nicoll joined Pride participants as they marched through Vancouver's downtown and the West End.

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Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut says the coming together of COC and Pride is a reminder that sport is open to everyone, regardless of race, religion, creed or sexual orientation.

Anti-gay laws in Russia have provoked strong protest from Canada's gay community, and anti-Russian sentiment was visible throughout Sunday's Parade.

At least one marcher wore a T-shirt and hoisted a sign featuring a photoshopped image of Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing blue eye shadow and blush.

This is the first time the COC has participated in Pride festivals across the country — Olympians have already marched in Toronto and will also be present in the upcoming Pride celebrations in Ottawa, Calgary and Montreal.

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