Athletes row over anti-gay law

The Russian pole vault world champion Yelena Isinbayeva has condemned Swedish athletes for being "disrespectful" by protesting against Russia's controversial new law banning the promotion of homosexuality by painting their nails in rainbow colours.

Isinbayeva is 'against gay propaganda, not gay people'

The spokesperson for the Russian pole vault world champion Yelena Isinbayeva has told ITV News the athlete is not against gay people and that her comments have been misunderstood.

The journalists twisted her words, she didn't say she was anti-gay.

Yelena's a sportswoman, she's not a politician.

She's only against gay propaganda, not against gay people - they can live how they want.

We have no idea what is going on in the UK so we have no comment about her resigning [from her role as youth Olympic ambassador for the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.]

– Alla Glushchenko, Yelena Isinbayeva's spokesperson

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Isinbayeva 'misunderstood' over anti-gay comments

Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva has said she may have been "misunderstood" when she made comments condemning homosexuality, according to the Associated Press.

Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva. Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire

The two-time Olympic gold medalist appeared to back off her comments at the World Championships, after criticising two Swedish athletes who protested against the Russian law banning the promotion of homosexuality.

She said: "English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood when I spoke yesterday.

"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."

Louise Hazel: 'No place for homophobia in sports'

British heptathlete Louise Hazel has criticised Russia's pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva after she spoke out in support of Russia's controversial laws on homosexuality.

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Yelena Isinbayeva's "homophobic" comments have no place in our sport! This is the 21st century! I say bring back Feofanova! #Athletics

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Do you agree that as an Ambassador for the Youth Olympic Games the IOC need to discipline Isinbayeva in light of her recent comments?!

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Thank you all for your comments and opinions... Lets hope that the IOC take action, it's a shame for this to overshadow the championships!

PM: 'Better to challenge prejudice' by attending Sochi

The Prime Minister said last week that he believes it would be "better to challenge prejudice as we attend" the Winter Olympics in Russia, as calls from athletes to boycott it over its anti-gay laws continue.

David Cameron during an Olympic anniversary press conference last month. Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire

Russia's pole vault world champion Yelena Isinbayeva defended the country's controversial new law, however, British heptathlete Louise Hazel said the Russian's position as ambassador for the Youth Olympics was now "ridiculous".

In response to a letter Stephen Fry wrote urging him to back the boycott, David Cameron wrote on Twitter: "I share your deep concern about the abuse of gay people in Russia...However, I believe we can better challenge prejudice as we attend, rather than boycotting the Winter Olympics".

Read: Stephen Fry urges Sochi Olympics ban

IOC urged to strip Isinbayeva of ambassador role

The International Olympic Committee is facing calls to remove pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva from her ambassadorial role after she spoke out in support of Russia's controversial laws on homosexuality.

Her comments have attracted widespread criticism from athletes, including British heptathlete Louise Hazel, who said the Russian's position as ambassador for the Youth Olympics was now "ridiculous".

Louise Hazel competed in the heptathlon at London 2012. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

"They (the IOC) should definitely be revising her position as an ambassador," Hazel, who won gold at the 2011 Commonwealth Games, told BBC Sport. "That just seems ridiculous to me.

"I think it should be their first point of call after the [World] Championships are over."

Isinbayeva criticised two Swedish athletes for making statements against Russia's new law, which makes it illegal to give under-18s information about homosexuality.

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Russian pole vault great defends anti-gay stance

Russia's pole vault world champion Yelena Isinbayeva has defended the country's controversial new anti-gay law.

The double Olympic gold medallist, widely regarded as the greatest female pole-vaulter of all time, said Russians were "normal, standard people".

"We just live boys with women, girls with boys... it comes from history," said the 31-year-old at a press conference.

Yelena Isinbayeva is the face of the Moscow World Championships and won gold this week. Credit: EMPICS Sport/EMPICS Sport

"Maybe we are different than European people and people from different lands."

Isinbayeva also criticised two Swedish athletes who protested against the Russian law banning the promotion of homosexuality by painting their nails in the colour of the rainbow flag.

"It's disrespectful to our country, disrespectful to our citizens because we are Russians. We have our law which everyone has to respect. When we go to different countries, we try to follow their rules," the Russian athlete said.

Read: High jumper paints nails rainbow colours at Moscow

High jumper paints nails rainbow colours at Moscow

A Swedish high jumper has come under fire after she competed at the IAAF World Championships with her fingernails painted in rainbow colours to show support for Russia's gay community.

Emma Green Tregaro, who took bronze at the 2005 Championships, posted a picture of her fingers on Instagram with the message, "Nails painted in the colours of the rainbow #pride #moscow2013".

Swedish high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro posted this picture on Instagram.
Swedish high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro posted this picture on Instagram. Credit: Instragram/Emma Green Tregaro

"It felt right," Green Tregaro told reporters after competing at the Moscow event. "I wouldn't say it was a protest more of a statement of what I think."

Read: Athletes told to calm down over Russia's new anti-gay laws