Thirty-one-year-old pole vault World Champion Yelena Isinbayeva clarified her recent comments about the new Russian legislation which makes gay-rights propaganda illegal in the country – although she supports the legislation, she says she does not discriminate based on sexuality.
Isinbayeva, who regained her title as World Champion on Tuesday, currently holds the world record for pole vaulting. She is a two-time gold medalist in the Olympics, and is an ambassador for the Youth Olympics. She is expected to be a key competitor in the Winter Olympics, to be held in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
Russia’s new legislation makes propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors illegal. Those who pass out gay rights materials or use the media or the internet to promote homosexual agenda can be fined heavily, and foreigners can be deported for violating the law.
On Thursday, Isinbayeva had said that she personally agreed with the new law, and that the Russian people did not want gay rights to be promoted on the streets. She did not, however, condemn homosexual practice – “we are against publicity. We are not, of course, against every choice of every single person. It’s their life, it’s their choice, it’s their feelings,” she said.
The athlete clarified her views on sexual discrimination in a statement this morning after much outrage had been expressed by gay activists. According to CNN, Isinbayeva said, “Let me make it clear 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 on the grounds of their sexuality.”
While many agree with the Russian legislation, some are now suggesting that the Olympic games should not be held in the country.