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Pole Vault Queen Backs Russia's Anti-Gay Law, Calls Swedes' Rainbow Nails 'Disrespectful'

( [email protected] ) Aug 15, 2013 02:19 AM EDT
Rainbow has traditionally been viewed as an “everlasting covenant between God and all living creature of every kind on the earth,” according to the book of Genesis in the Bible. However, this symbol has been robbed of its innocence when the gay communities started using it to represent themselves through rainbow flags and colors.
Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva, the gold medalist in the women's pole vault, gestures during a news conference at the world track and field championships in Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. AP

Rainbow has traditionally been viewed as an “everlasting covenant between God and all living creature of every kind on the earth,” according to the book of Genesis in the Bible. However, this symbol has been robbed of its innocence when the gay communities started using it to represent themselves through rainbow flags and colors.

Two Swedish athletes painted their fingernails with rainbow colors in support of gay and lesbians at world championships in Russia, which drew the rebuke from Russian pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva, the face of Moscow world championships and two-time Olympic gold medalist.

“It’s disrespectful to our country, disrespectful to our citizens, because we are Russians,” Isinbayeva told a news conference in English after winning her third world championship to roars of approval at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium on Tuesday. “Maybe we are different than European people and people from different lands. We have our law which everyone has to respect. When we go to different countries, we try to follow their rules. We are not trying to set our rules over there. We are just trying to be respectful.”


Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva, the gold medalist in the women's pole vault, gestures during a news conference at the world track and field championships in Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013.(Photo:AP)

Although the law has drawn sharp criticisms, the controversial new law, which will apply to athletes and spectators at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality to minors or gay propaganda.

High jumper Emma Green-Tregaro wore rainbow-colored nails for her high jump qualifying competition yesterday, while compatriot Moa Hjelmer did likewise for her 200 meters heat.

But Isinbayeva, who is an ambassador for the Sochi Games and has been appointed ‘mayor’ of the athletes’ village, said, “If we allow people 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. We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys.

“It comes from history. We never had any problems, these problems in Russia, and we don’t want to have any in the future,” she said. “We are against about publicity, but, of course, we are not against every choice of every single person. It’s their life, it’s their situation, and it’s their feeling.”

Green-Tregaro described her decision to compete with rainbow colored nails as a “statement of what I think” rather than a protest.

“When I first came to Moscow, the first thing I saw when I opened the curtains was a rainbow over Moscow and I thought that was a pretty good sign,” she said. “Then I decided to paint my nails. I usually do my nails in something that feels good for me and it was a simple way of showing what I think.”

A Levada Center poll published in March showed that 85% of Russians were against same-sex marriage and 34% thought homosexuality was a disease.

When people see rainbows, they would regard it as a sign of a certain hope and future, but today it has been perceived more and more as a symbol of the gay movement, which goes contrary to the conservative belief that God's purpose of marriage is reserved between a man and a woman as husband and wife.