Russian Pole-Vault Champ Condemns Anti-Gay-Law Protest, RIA Says

Pole vaulting world record holder Elena Isinbaeva criticized a fellow-athlete for protesting against a law banning gay “propaganda” that has sparked calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympic Games next year in Russia.

“If we will allow to promote and do all this stuff on the streets, we are very afraid for our nation,” Isinbaeva, a supporter of President Vladimir Putin, said speaking in English today, state news service RIA Novosti reported. “We consider ourselves as a traditional people when men live with women. I hope this problem won’t affect the Sochi Games.”

Swedish athlete Emma Green Tregaro competed today in Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium at the World Championships with her fingernails painted in rainbow colors in a sign of protest, RIA said.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Aug. 1 that the law will be enforced during the Sochi Games even after the International Olympic Committee said it had received assurances that it wouldn’t be applied against athletes or spectators.

Putin signed a law in July banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors. The maximum fine for violating the law is 1 million rubles ($30,400), applicable to legal entities. Foreign citizens charged under the law face as long as 15 days in jail and deportation from Russia.

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