MOSCOW, August 20 (R-Sport) – Russian sprinters Ksenia Ryzhova and Yulia Guschina said Tuesday they are outraged at the reaction to their now-infamous podium kiss at the world athletics championships and denied it was an act of protest against Russia's controversial anti-gay law.
“Yesterday I got calls from probably 20 different media outlets and instead of congratulating us for the gold medal, they decided to insult me and Julia and the entire federation,” Ryzhova said at a Moscow press conference.
Ryzhova and Guschina are members of Russia’s gold medal-winning 4x400m relay team.
A photograph of the podium smooch circulated widely in international media, with many outlets suggesting the kiss was a premediated act of defiance and a possible test of the law.
Guschina slammed the image as the photographer's “sick fantasy.”
Ryzhova also emphasized to reporters that she and Guschina are both married and have “no personal relationship.”
“We’ve trained for eight years in the same group and there’s a really good friendship between us,” she said.
The contentious law bans the promotion of homosexuality to minors, though there remains a great deal of uncertainty over how it will be enforced.
Amid international calls for a boycott of next February's Sochi 2014 Olympics, the controversy hovered lightly over the world championships, with Russian pole vault great and reigning gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva vehemently defending the law on Thursday only to say later her comments "may have been misunderstood."
Swedish high jumper Emma Green Tregaro garnered attention that day when she painted her fingernails rainbow colors in support of gay rights during qualification. She competed in the final two days later with red paint after Swedish athletics officials told her doing so again might be in violation of IAAF conduct.
The championships concluded on Sunday.
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- moistRia Novosti...14:18, 20/08/2013...You, or some of your authors, seem more and more obsessed with this story than CNN & Co.
Where does it say that this is an "anti-gay law"? I know CNN & Co call it that but you should know better and report accordingly.
It is a law protecting children & minors from those propagating and are trying to impose this particular western ego-centric and depraved life-style in Russia. Let´s be clear about that.
- Mikhail1228Sick Western Thinking!16:23, 20/08/2013I am an American of Russian ancestry. Many of you are not old enough to remember Yuri Gagarin's historic trip to outer space. I do. The films show Gagarin on his return walk down the red tarmac and up to Nikita Kruschchev. Both men embrace and kiss on the lips. Neither men are queers. This is how Russians are. Today in my Russian Orthodox Church male friends and relatives embrace me and kiss me. I am not gay and neither are they. Gay is the only thing on the minds of American's and westerners. Little wonder why religious Russians look on America, with our Hollywood values and celebrations of homosexuality, as a sick society, a focus of cultural and moral evil in the world.
- firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Reason why the Law is Problematic18:23, 20/08/2013Children do not distinguish between a kiss that is good or bad. If you want to protect children tell that that love is good. The only reason why many Russians think this is sick and depraved is because they do not know gay people who are good, kind, and loving people. I do. The only people here who are sick are Russians who think that the only love that is good is between man and woman. I know many men who beat women. I don't know any women who beat women. Russians need to rethink what is good or remain ignorant.
- Mikhail1228Why?21:08, 20/08/2013Little children in Russia do not need to be taught about the gay lifestyle nor do they need it promoted to them. I am happy that President Putin has the balls to stand firm for traditional families, children and the Orthodox Christian Faith!
Military exercises are held in order to prevent a war rather than prepare for one. If a potential enemy knows and sees that the Russian Army is constantly improving its skills and adopting state-of-the-art combat equipment and combat support systems he will hardly risk aggression against these Armed Forces and the country they defend.