Russian Pole Vaulter Says She May Have Been Misunderstood
MOSCOW -- A day after condemning homosexuality, Russian pole vault great Yelena Isinbayeva appeared to back off from her critical words Friday by saying her comments in English may have been "misunderstood."
The two-time Olympic gold medalist supported Russia’s new anti-gay law on Thursday and criticized two Swedish competitors for their rainbow-colored fingernails in support of gay rights.
"English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood when I spoke yesterday. What I wanted to say was that people should respect the laws of other countries particularly when they are guests," Isinbayeva said in a statement issued through local organizers of the world championships.
"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 Thursday, Isinbayeva said: "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. We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys."
The law, passed in June, prohibits spreading so-called "propaganda" in support of "non-traditional" relationships to minors. It has provoked calls in the West for boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held six months from now in the Russian resort of Sochi.