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Rainbow Colored Nails Cause Uproar At Moscow Athletic Championships: VIDEO


Controversy has erupted at the World Athletic Championships in Moscow over Swedish high-jumper Emma Green Tregaro's nails, which she painted in rainbow colors to show support for LGBT people in Russia suffering under the country's harsh and prohibitive anti-gay laws. Those laws forbid the dissemination of "propaganda" that promotes "non-traditional" sexual practices to minors. Though vague, many believe the laws can and will be construed to punish shows of support for LGBT rights such as the donning of pins, ribbons, or even painting one's nails.

Though Green Tregaro was not arrested for her "advocacy," her display of solidarity comes just days after the IOC announced it would not allow similar displays of support at the Sochi Olympics.

Green Tregaro shared a picture of her newly-painted nails to Instagram, using several hashtags including "#pride" and "#moscow2013," according to the AP. Green Tregaro also posted a video explaining her decision to paint her nails in the prideful colors of the rainbow:

"The first thing that happened when I came to Moscow and pulled my curtains aside was that I saw the rainbow and that felt a little ironic," Green Tregaro said in a video posted on the website of Swedish newspaper Expressen. "Then I had a suggestion from a friend on Instagram that maybe I could paint my nails in the colors of the rainbow and that felt like a simple, small thing that maybe could trigger some thoughts."

Fellow Swede Moa Hjelmer also painted her nails in rainbow colors to show LGBT support. They were visible as she ran in the 200-meter heats. However, Green Tregaro's gesture did not sit well with Russian pole-vaulting great and "mayor" of one of the Olympic villages in Sochi, Yelena Isinbayeva. Reuters reports:

Izi"It's disrespectful to our country, disrespectful to our citizens because we are Russians," Isinbayeva, speaking hesitantly in English, told a news conference.

"Maybe we are different than European people and people from different lands. We have our law which everyone has to respect. When we go to different countries, we try to follow their rules. We are not trying to set our rules over there. We are just trying to be respectful.

We are not trying to set our rules over there. We are just trying to be respectful. We consider ourselves, like normal, standard people, we just live boys with women, girls with boys ... it comes from the history. I hope the problem won't ruin our Olympic Games in Sochi," added the 31-year-old, who is one of Russia's best known athletes and won her third pole vault world title in front of an enthralled crowd on Tuesday.

American mid-distance runner Nick Symmonds was aghast at Isinbayeva's remarks:

Nick"It blows my mind that a young, so well-educated woman can be so behind with the times," Symmonds told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Guess what Yelena, a large portion of your citizenship are normal, standard homosexuals...I wanted to compete with a rainbow sticker but was told I would go to prison if I did that. It was suggested that if I pushed this too far it was a real possibility."

Asked what the feeling about the [anti-gay propaganda] law was among the athletes in Moscow, Symmonds said: "It's a very divided subject but from most of what I've seen, this is not an issue for my generation. We believe in equality. There's been a huge shift to equality now being the majority view in America. Here it seems the majority of people respect this law so you have to respect that in a democracy. But if you are going to host the Sochi Olympics, history will look back and say 'you are on the wrong side of history, Russia'."

Symmonds said he was against a boycott of Sochi but would continue to speak out.

"My aim was to come here and race and try to win a medal for the United States. Having done that, if I can help to advance the cause then that's something I'd like to do."

According to the AP, Symmonds took to his blog on Runners World before the Moscow Championships to show support for LGBT people, understanding the significance of competing in these and the upcoming Sochi Games, adding,

"If I am placed in a race with a Russian athlete, I will shake his hand, thank him for his country's generous hospitality." Then, after beating his opponent badly, he would "silently dedicate the win to my gay and lesbian friends back home. Upon my return, I will then continue to fight for their rights in my beloved democratic union."

Check out a video of Isinbayeva making her remarks AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Trolling is a art.

    Posted by: Kev C | Aug 15, 2013 6:53:58 PM

  2. Yet another Russian woman - Yelena Isinbayeva - speaks out against male homosexuality. Remember, it is male homosexuality which they fear, not female homosexuality.

    Didn't I tell you this is all about power? Women fear the power that the male homosexual act represents. Homophobia is the ultimate gender war, and it's a war on men by women.

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 15, 2013 6:59:15 PM

  3. Poor Yelena.

    No one is advocating for gay sex on Ut. Tverskaya. NO ONE! But of course, she DOES realize that, and she is therefore part of the problem.
    Go home Yelena, you're drunk.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 15, 2013 7:04:49 PM

  4. She is an idiot

    Posted by: bructer | Aug 15, 2013 7:18:20 PM

  5. Yet another alias - Brian - is being used by Rick/Jason to post the same exact "woman are homophobic and want to usurp power from men" misogynistic, anti-woman rant he posts under several different aliases.

    Didn't I warn you about this tactic? Brian, aka Rick/Jason, for whatever reason, hates women and anything relating to or involving femininity. It's why he also chastises effeminate gay men and transgender people. Rick/Jason/Brian is troll waging war on towleroad. Self-loathing is a war against decency and brain function, which rants like the one "Brian" posted above are indicative of.

    Posted by: MateoM | Aug 15, 2013 7:18:41 PM

  6. Wow she is a dumb jock

    Posted by: Name: | Aug 15, 2013 7:24:13 PM

  7. Last time I checked the rainbow didn't have two yellows in it. Do we have to go through this news wasteland right up until the torch is lit?

    Posted by: JG | Aug 15, 2013 7:31:16 PM

  8. The only good thing about this heinous law being approved is that the western world has no more excuses to ignore what kind of country Russia is today. They didn’t become hateful and ignorant people overnight; gays are only the easiest target. If you think that apart from this law they have other freedoms granted you are delusional, the country is an ocean of corruption and a has a clear czar atop. In short, being straight in such a phony democracy won’t guaranty you any human right either, only that they will stump on you more discreetly.

    Posted by: SAYTHETRUTH | Aug 15, 2013 7:31:46 PM

  9. But it doesn't hold a candle to the first time you came home wearing nail polish.

    Posted by: AG | Aug 15, 2013 7:32:47 PM

  10. But it doesn't hold a candle to the first time you came home wearing nail polish.

    Posted by: AG | Aug 15, 2013 7:32:47 PM

  11. ah the idiot again.

    Isinbaeva was reacting to the WOMEN who showed their SUPPORT for LGBT people by painting their nails.

    So you're multiply wrong. As usual.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Aug 15, 2013 7:44:22 PM

  12. I believe this poor woman has a good heart...buried beneath so much's invisible to the naked eye. When she chooses enlightenment someday...she'll be a good ally. Better yet, when she chooses to comes out!!

    Posted by: Paul B. | Aug 15, 2013 7:52:32 PM

  13. I couldn't agree with you more MATEOM,the level of misogyny that keeps showing up on Towleroad is really pissing me off!

    Posted by: Josh | Aug 15, 2013 8:09:41 PM

  14. Women paint their nails all the time. At best it's a trivial gesture of support.

    As for the homophobic woman Yelena, she's typical of women who fear the power of men and their sexuality. She's paranoid about men, including gay men.

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 15, 2013 8:22:38 PM

  15. One would think that by the comments section, most Towleroad readers hate women.

    Posted by: Tranquilo | Aug 15, 2013 8:31:18 PM

  16. What she doesn't understand is that there won't be any future Olympics, and many other international sport events, and international sponsorship, in Russia's future because they no longer meet the requirements as defined under Olympic and other sporting event bylaws. There's never been an Olympics in Saudi Arabia for instance - because they don't meet the required standards, and neither does Russia anymore because of their new laws.

    Posted by: Kev C | Aug 15, 2013 8:38:06 PM

  17. Symmonds and Green-Tregaro are awesome and inspiring. The Russian runner is an embarrassment. Yes, we do not respect uncivilized people, whether they are from Uganda or Russia or some other hellhole.

    Posted by: Jay | Aug 15, 2013 8:44:12 PM

  18. How does one silently start a revolution?

    Posted by: Munro | Aug 15, 2013 8:59:51 PM

  19. @tranquilo. if one came to that conclusion from one commenter, one would be an idiot

    Posted by: gomez | Aug 15, 2013 9:01:29 PM

  20. I keep hearing from people (athletes predominately) who don't want a boycott despite it is the right thing to do. Fine. If you go to the games then make sure you bring your rainbow flag and flag pin, that you hold hands with a teammate and when warranted, kiss that guy smack dab on the mouth. Make sure you do it in front of the television cameras. Then when you are arrested and screaming your head off because you've been thrown out of the games and can't get home you'll wish to GOD you had insisted the IOC move the games to another country. What you are seeing now is just a tip of the iceberg you are about to hit.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Aug 15, 2013 9:21:23 PM

  21. I agree with MIKE RYAN.

    It reminds me of the hurricane that hit New Orleans. We all saw it coming on Television days before and Bush never sent anybody in to get those people out. I was yelling at the TV, get them out of there 2 days before. Bush and Brownie (remember him?) kept saying they were "monitoring the situation", and look what happened.

    The IOC and the rest of the participating countries have time to move the event to a safer environment.

    Seriously, if this is what they are freaking out about, just wait!!

    Posted by: Will | Aug 15, 2013 9:31:19 PM

  22. @gomez I was making a point that one member is using sock puppets to make it seem like a lot of people are misogynists. But thanks for the enlightened name-calling.

    Posted by: Tranquilo | Aug 15, 2013 9:41:18 PM


    Thanks Emma!

    Posted by: Strepsi | Aug 15, 2013 9:42:58 PM

  24. "We are not trying to set our rules over there. We are just trying to be respectful."

    So let me get this straight, Yelena:

    When you compete in a country like Sweden where you and others like you are safe and free, you don't protest against that...

    But when we come to your country knowing that local kids are being abducted and tortured and that if we so much as mention our families in public, your government threatens to arrest us. And we are horrified.

    And you find the two situations to be parallel?

    Let me explain it to you this way: The informed opinions on this or ANY issue tend to be found in countries where the government does not make it illegal for you to learn full information. Your lack of understanding is not surprising. Your opinion is not an informed one because it is ILLEGAL in your country for the truth about the issue to flow freely.

    Итак, позвольте мне получить это прямо, Елена:

    Когда вы конкурировать в такой стране, как Швеция, где вы и другие, как вы безопасно и бесплатно, вы не протестуют против этого ...

    Но когда мы приехать в вашу страну, зная, что местные дети похищают и пытают и что если мы даже упоминать наши семьи в общественной, ваше правительство грозится арестовать нас. И мы в ужасе.

    Posted by: GregV | Aug 15, 2013 10:14:43 PM

  25. Back in 2011, she rejected a proposition from Putin's party (United Russia) to campaign for them. But I guess in 2012 came the offer she couldn't refuse, and so she became part of Putin's campaign for presidency in 2012. So, whatever her actual personal beliefs are is besides the point. She is clearly in step with the regime's ideologues.

    Posted by: olter | Aug 15, 2013 10:23:42 PM

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