Three days after a photograph of two Russian athletes kissing on the medal stand made international news, the women insisted they were not protesting their country's anti-gay legislation.
The picture showed sprinters Kseniya Ryzhova and Yulia Gushchina giving each other a peck after their team had won the 400-meter relay at the track and field world championships in Moscow.
"Yesterday I got calls from probably 20 different media outlets and instead of congratulating us for the gold medal, they decided to insult me and Yulia and the entire federation,” Ryzhova said, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
She added: "And if we, accidentally, while congratulating each other, touched lips, excuse me. We think the whole fuss is more of a sick fantasy not grounded in anything."