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Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva speaks out against gay rights

August 15, 2013|By David Wharton
  • Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva has criticized fellow competitors for painting their fingernails in rainbow colors to support gay rights.
Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva has criticized fellow competitors… (Alexander Zemlianichenko…)

Friction over Russia's new anti-gay legislation and the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics has reached ground level, with athletes entering the fray.

The issue has become a hot point at the track-and-field world championships in Moscow, where Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva won her third title.

Isinbayeva criticized fellow competitors for painting their fingernails in rainbow colors to support gays. She spoke out against gay rights.

"If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people,'' Isinbayeva was quoted as saying Thursday by the Associated Press. "We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys.  

"Everything must be fine. It comes from history. We never had any problems, these problems in Russia, and we don't want to have any in the future.''

The Russian legislation threatens criminal prosecution for discussing gay rights around children or supporting gay rights with parades or public events.

President Obama and other world leaders have criticized the law. Russian officials have offered some assurances that it will not be enforced on international athletes during the Sochi Games but the International Olympic Committee has asked for clarification.

In Moscow, athletes such as Swedish high-jumper Emma Green Tregaro are painting their nails to show their support for gay rights.  

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