Be careful with your fingernails

A couple Swedish athletes painted their fingernails in the colors of the rainbow flag (also go here to see her Instagram page). Yelena Isinbayeva wasn’t pleased:

‘It is disrespectful to our country.  It is  disrespectful to our citizens. We are Russians; maybe we are  different to  European people, to other people in other lands.’

Isinbayeva added that she does not consider  homosexual relationships normal, but said it was Russian ‘history’ not  to.

‘We are very afraid, and this is my  opinion  also, that if we allow people to promote and do all this  [homosexuality] in the  street we are scared for our nation.

‘We consider us normal people, where boys  live with women, women live with boys. It comes from our history. We never had  any of these problems in Russia and we don’t want to have it in the  future.’

The reason this comes up now is that a new law in Russia makes bans ‘propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships’. Isinbayeva has somewhat backtracked:

“English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood when I spoke yesterday,” the newly-crowned pole vault world champion said in a statement.

“What I wanted to say was that people should respect the laws of other countries particularly when they are guests.

“But 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 (which is against the Olympic charter).”

Of course, since she’s saying that people should respect the law, she thinks that painting your fingernails the color of the rainbow flag should be punished, also perhaps two people of the same sex holding hands. Right now she is an Ambassador to the Youth Olympics and is set to by mayor of the athletes’ village at Sochi. Obviously, she should lose both of these positions.

Of course, this isn’t the first time there has been a controversy about what’s on an athlete’s hand:

The 1968 Olympics Black Power salute was an act of protest by the African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. As they turned to face their flags and hear the American national anthem (The Star-Spangled Banner), they each raised a black-gloved fist and kept them raised until the anthem had finished. Smith, Carlos and Australian silver medalist Peter Norman all wore human rights badges on their jackets.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Avery Brundage deemed it to be a domestic political statement unfit for the apolitical, international forum the Olympic Games were supposed to be. In response to their actions, he ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the U.S. team and banned from the Olympic Village. When the US Olympic Committee refused, Brundage threatened to ban the entire US track team. This threat led to the two athletes being expelled from the Games.

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