Russian Track Teammates Celebrate Victory With Same-Sex Kiss


Was it a protest or simply an innocent display of affection between teammates?

That's the question being asked around the world at present. Here's what we do know. Shortly after winning gold in the women's 4×400 meter relay at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday, Russian track athletes Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova celebrated their victory with a full on, girl-on-girl lip lock. They then kissed again at the subsequent medal ceremony. Neither athlete has released a statement explaining the gesture, leaving all of us across the web speculating as to whether the kiss was a political gesture, an innocent gesture of affection between friends, or a possible expression of a deeper love. 

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko told members of the press that "I think this is kind of an invented problem."

"We don't have a law banning non-traditional sexual relations, we have a different law. It is the informational protection of the young generation. We want to prevent the young generation, whose psyche has not been formulated. We want to protect them against drunkenness, drugs and non-traditional sexual relations. We want them to grow up and when they become adults they have to define what they want."

Gay-star-news-Kseniya Ryzhova-Tatyana- Firova_1Nevertheless, whether the gesture was innocent or not, Gay Star News notes that Ryzhova and Firova's PDA could land them a conviction under Russia's anti-gay "propaganda" law. Russian officials have not given any indication that they intend to arrest the athletes. That said, Russian officials have made it clear that the propaganda law will be enforced during sporting events such as these. 

This is not, by any means, the first instance of gay-related controversy at the World Athletics Championships. Previously, one Swedish athlete caused a stir with her rainbow-colored nail polish, prompting one copy-cay and one vocally anti-gay expression of disapproval. Also, American runner Nick Symmonds spoke out against Russia's anti-gay laws at the international tournament, becoming the first athlete to do so while on Russian soil. 


  1. Dback says

    Wonder how much more uproar there might have been from Russian officials if this had been two men.

  2. oncemorewithfeeling says

    “Nevertheless, whether the gesture was innocent or not…”

    Again with Towleroad’s new official stance that people are “guilty” if they are homosexual and/or engage in homosexual acts.

    Why read this site when there are tons of anti-gay sites that do gay hate so much more efficiently and honestly?

  3. Dave in PA says

    Oddly enough, isn’t this part of Russian culture? I know I’ve seen male Russian gymnasts kiss to congratulate each other.

  4. Francis says

    All indications are this wasn’t a protest kiss.

    If it were two men, you can be sure there would be A LOT more attention from Russians, from the media, and most would assume it had to be a protest kiss. Which speaks to the bias our world has regarding two men kissing vs two women kissing, but that’s another argument.

  5. Olga says

    Kissing is commonplace in Russian culture to celebrate and to greet – among men and among women. There is nothing provocative here.

  6. says

    it highlights what’s so stupid about the law – what constitutes gay propaganda anyway?

    many cultures have same-sex kissing as a non-homosexual greeting or sign of affection

    the “rainbow” is an oft-used “Christian” symbol

    it’s so bewilderingly non-specific.

  7. ND says

    WITHFEELING: Fifty years ago you were cowering in closets, today you believe yourselves to be the royalty of the world’s oppressed. This picture is permitted because it’s women, not men, kissing. Even Russian monsters get a twinge from the girl on girl action.

  8. Olga says

    ND: there is no “action” here; is simply congratulatory, as is common in Russia among teammates.

  9. JJ says

    Sports Mnister Vitaly Mutko did NOT make the above statement in response to this incident as the story implies.

  10. tterry says

    1. women can’t penetrate each other and thus are less gay
    2.these women are medal winners who will bring honor to Russia at the Olympics, but not if they are in jail
    3. if they call it a traditional way to celebrate they can overlook it, I wonder if men can lip smack

  11. DannyEastVillage says

    Okay-I’m as gay as the next gay guy–but that kiss pic is beautiful–and hot.

  12. Koskalaka Maricón says

    Perhaps their kiss should have been concealed from public view by the covering veil of a rainbow flag.

  13. Koskalaka Maricón says

    Perhaps their kiss should have been concealed from public view by the covering veil of a rainbow flag.