Olympian Yelena Isinbayeva, the greatest women's pole vaulter of
all time, on Thursday criticized two Swedish athletes for expressing
opposition to Russia's anti-gay law.
At least two Swedish athletes, including high jumper Emma Green
Tregaro, competed in the World Championships in Moscow with their
fingernails painted in rainbow colors.
The protest comes amid rising concerns about how the Russian law
will affect next year's Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi.
Russia's “gay propaganda” law prohibits the positive portrayal of
gay men and women in public venues where minors might be present.
“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 is quoted as saying by the
“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.”
In a video posted on the website of Swedish daily Expressen,
Green Tregaro said that a friend suggested she paint her nails in
“I had a suggestion from a friend on Instagram that maybe I
could paint my nails in the colors of the rainbow and that felt like
a simple, small thing that maybe could trigger some thoughts,” she
Isinbayeva criticized the athletes, saying that they had
“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. We have our
home and everyone has to respect [it]. When we arrive to different
countries, we try to follow their rules,” she said in English.
Isinbayeva will serve as “mayor” of one of the Olympic
villages in Sochi.