A day after she criticized two Swedish athletes for expressing
opposition to Russia's anti-gay law, Olympian Yelena Isinbayeva said
that she may have been “misunderstood.”
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 to protest the recently
approved law which prohibits the promotion of “gay propaganda” to
Isinbayeva, the greatest women's pole vaulter of all time, chided
the athletes, saying that they had disrespected Russia.
“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.
And she suggested that gay people are not normal.
“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 told reporters. “We just
live with boys with woman, woman with boys.”
On Friday, Isinbayeva said that she was opposed to discrimination.
“English is not my first language and I think I may have been
misunderstood when I spoke yesterday," Isinbayeva in a
statement, the AP reported.
"What I wanted to say was that people should respect the laws
of other countries particularly when they are guests. I respect the
views of my fellow athletes and let me state in the strongest terms
that I am opposed to any discrimination against gay people."