At the World Track & Field championships in Moscow, Swedish high jumper Emma Green Tregaro competed today with her fingernails painted in rainbow hues in a gesture of solidarity for the LGBT community, drawing condemnation from Russia pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva.
“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, a two-time Olympic champion, said in English. “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. It’s unrespectful to our country. It’s unrespectful to our citizens because we are Russians. Maybe we are different from European people and other people from different lands,” Isinbayeva told reporters. “We have our home and everyone has to respect (it). When we arrive to different countries, we try to follow their rules.”
American runner Nick Symmonds, who yesterday dedicated his silver medal to his gay friends at home, slammed Isinbayeva.
“I want to say to Yelena, ‘You understand a very large portion of your citizens here are gay and lesbian people. They are standard people, too. They were created this way. For you to tell them that they’re not normal and standard, that’s what we’re taking an issue with.’ That’s why we have to continue to demonstrate and to speak out against the ignorance that she’s showing.”
Isinbayeva has set 28 world records and won gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. According to the Washington Post, she was part of the team that won Russia the right to host the 2014 Games. Cheering on Isinbayeva’s bigotry is NOM’s Damian Goddard.