Well, I think this law risks interfering directly with the game events, both with the athletes and with spectators and journalists. A law against murder has next to no risk of doing that, since no one would try to commit a murder at or around an Olympic arena, nor is there likely to be cases when a murder is directly triggered by something that happened at an Olympic event. When was the last time you heard of two Olympic athletes, or two football players, embroiled in a killing because of a personal beef or fit of envy linked to their sports?
The crucial question when it comes to judging the risks is of course, how strict are the Russian police going to be when it comes to "displaying personal affection or joy" in connection with the events? So far, the comments by Russian politicians have been vague or contradictory. Is it going to be seen as LGBT propaganda if an athlete or a spectator embraces and kisses her best friend, perhaps minutes after the athlete or another LGBT athlete has triumphed? Would an athlete who did this get yanked in by the cops if it happened on live tv camera? Or in the Olympic village? We don't know. But just the threat of enforcing this kind of law against perfectly ordinary human affection has something very nasty to it.
To do their best at a high-profile sports event, athletes should be able to feel at all times that they are safe against arbitrary violence
and unwarranted intrusion on their persons. This law treats LGBT athletes (and their significant others and friends) as potential criminals.
People identify with great athletes, and enjoy watching them, not just in seeing them as experts in delivering an amazing feat, a record, a skilled jump, but for who the athlete ís
as a human, the personal factor. If a coloured athlete makes the first big win of her kind in a sport, if an athlete from your own country or someone who has had a difficult road scores gold, people cheer not just for the result but for what they see in the person. When Jesse Owens triumphed in Berlin, he wasn't just seen as an American athlete but as a black athlete, who proved that non-white runners, or any kind of non-white person, could triumph over racism. If an openly LGBT skier would win the alpine world cup, or an Olympic medal in slalom, people would perceive it as a victory on behalf of LGBT persons - even many straight people would sense that, and accept it. Of course you'd get outpourings of wild joy and emotion, some of it in public and on camera, or in the social media. I think that's where this law becomes really problematic as seen against the Olympic games.