World pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva has spoken out against homosexuality amid protests over new laws in her native Russia.
It is now illegal to give under-18s information about homosexuality in Russia – leading to calls for a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
She criticised athletes who painted nails in support of gays and lesbians.
“We are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves normal, standard people,” said Isinbayeva.
The 31-year-old poster girl of Russian athletics – with two Olympic golds and 28 world records alongside her World Championships successes – is hugely popular in her home country.
And she expressed what she believed was her nation’s position on homosexuality: “We just live with boys with women, women with boys.
“Everything must be fine. It comes from history. We never had these problems in Russia, and we don’t want to have any in the future,” added Isinbayeva, after winning her third world title on Tuesday.
Swedish high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro painted her fingernails in the colours of the rainbow flag for Thursday’s qualifying competition at the World Championships in Moscow.
“I wouldn’t say it was a protest – more of a statement of what I think,” said the 28-year-old.
“I usually do my nails in something that feels good for me and it was a simple way of showing what I think.”
Swedish sprinter Moa Hjelmer also painted her nails.
Isinbayeva, whose image has been selling the Championships to Muscovites in much the same way Jessica Ennis-Hill promoted London 2012, added: “Everyone can participate, everyone can compete, but of course if they will promote sexual relations outside in the street it won’t be respectable for a lot of our citizens because we are all, from inside of us, against it.
“We are against publicity but we are not of course about every choice of every single person. It’s their life, it’s their choice, it’s their feelings, but we’re just against the publicity in our country and I support that.
“We are Russians. Maybe we are different than European people, than other people from different lands. We have our law which everyone has to respect. It’s my opinion also.”
The law was passed in June and prescribes heavy fines for anyone providing information about homosexuality to people under the age of 18.
US athlete Nick Symmonds, who dedicated his 800m silver to gay and lesbian friends to highlight Russia’s new legislation, told BBC Radio 5 live: “It blows my mind that such a young, well-travelled, educated woman would be so far behind the times.
“For most athletes from my generation it’s not an issue, for the most part we believe in equality.
“I really wanted to compete with a rainbow sticker but it was suggested if I pushed it too far there was a serious possibility I’d go to prison.
“Serious injustices need to be pointed out. I came out here to win a medal but if I can bring this important subject some attention, that’s something I’d like to do.”
BBC pundits Denise Lewis and Michael Johnson were equally critical of Isinbayeva’s stance.
Lewis said: “She is clearly not in touch with the rest of the world. I’m surprised her management didn’t advise her to be a little more cautious with throwing her views out there. This is clearly very damning for her as a global superstar.”
What Lewis and the rest of Yelena Isinbayeva’s critics failed to note is the similarity between the views of Russians and Americans on Same-Sex marriage. In America and many parts of Europe, overwhelming majority of people throughout time — who by and large supported traditional marriage — are now called homophobic, intolerant bigots.
Many run real risk of loosing benefits, grants and jobs if they express thier views publicly. By enshrining same-sex marriage into law, they have made everyone who opposes gay marriage on religious ground and enemy of the state.
“We are Now Enemies of the State,” Edward Mechmann wrote in New York Online Newsletter warning about the intolerance that forces of “tolerance” will soon unleash in the U.S and the impending persecutions coming.The impending persecution became even clearer, as Governor Cuomo, the highest public official of New York State, declared traditional marriage supporters to be enemies of the state and nation. He was speaking to a group of “gay rights” advocates about the process that led to the passage of the so-called “Marriage Equality Act”.
When asked if he found persuasive any arguments offered by the opposition to re-defining marriage, this is what the Governor of all New Yorkers said: “There is no answer from the opposition. There really isn’t. Ultimately, it’s, ‘I want to discriminate.’ And that’s anti-New York. It’s anti-American.”
Savor that quotation for a moment, and drink in the depth of its arrogance, contempt, and hostility.
No answer by defenders of marriage?
Not the thorough and comprehensive philosophical arguments rooted in natural law, offered by Sherif Girgis, Robert George and their colleagues?
Not the repeated statements of the United States Bishops and the New York State Bishops?
Not the arguments offered by the public in the 41 states that have rejected the re-definition of marriage?
Not the arguments that were deemed persuasive by 85 Senators, 342 Representatives, and President Clinton when the Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996?
Not the arguments offered by Mr. Cuomo’s predecessor as state Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, that were found persuasive by our Court of Appeals in the case upholding the real definition of marriage?
Not the arguments we were giving legislators in the hallways of the State Capitol and their home offices, for weeks prior to the vote?
In reality, Mr. Cuomo doesn’t just disagree with these arguments, he denies their existence. He clearly believes that they are pernicious, beyond the pale of proper discourse, and motivated only by hatred. Same views hold online.
A quick visit to Facebook, Twitter or any online comment box confirms that for many people, support for traditional marriage is tantamount to bigotry.
Like in Russia, religious communities and businesses owned by religious people in America run risk of foreclosures and even jail sentences for their owners.
Thus, American and Russian stance on gay marraige are not markedly different, they are simply opposite side of the same totalitarian coin.