Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova shared a rather unexpected kiss on the winner’s podium at the World Athletics Championships after they won the women’s 4×400 relay. The pair took the gold. The Russian athletes may have been protesting Russia’s anti-gay laws by locking lips.
Their kiss came after Swedish athlete Emma Green Tregaro was told to change the color of her fingernails. She had painted them in the colors of the rainbow in protest of the anti-gay laws in Russia.
Pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva has not commented upon the kiss, but did react to the fingernail polish saying that it was disrespectful and that “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.”
She later claimed that she’s not anti-gay.
Russia’s anti-gay laws have come into the media’s focus lately as buildup to the 2014 Olympics began in earnest. When the so-called gay propaganda ban was voted upon, the press largely ignored it. The law has wide-spread support in Russia.
Russia has also been suffering from a massive amount of racist and antisemitic violence in recent years with armed ultranationalistic thugs beating up and assaulting anyone who they deem to be an enemy of the state- and these can include Jews, Muslims, LGBT people, Blacks, Asians and just about anyone who is not an ethnic Rus.
Konstantin Yablonskiy, the co-chair of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation, has been critical of the idea of a boycott of the Olympics or moving it out of Russia. He said that “It’s not a constructive way to solve such a problem.” He called on people to, instead, show solidarity by wearing rainbow stickers and pins or holding hands with someone of the same sex during the opening ceremonies.