Russian pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva says comments about homosexuality were 'misunderstood'

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MOSCOW — A day after her condemnation of homosexuality, Russian pole vault great Yelena Isinbayeva said her comments in English might have been “misunderstood.”

The two-time Olympic gold medalist supported Russia’s new anti-gay law Thursday and criticized two Swedish competitors for their rainbow-colored fingernails in support of gay rights.

“English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood when I spoke yesterday,” Isinbayeva said Friday in a statement issued through local organizers of the world championships.

“What I wanted to say was that people should respect the laws of other countries particularly when they are guests. 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 Thursday, Isinbayeva said: “If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people. We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys.”

The law, passed in June, prohibits spreading “propaganda” in support of “nontraditional” relationships to minors. It has provoked calls for boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held six months from now in the Russian resort of Sochi.

It also has raised concern about how gay athletes might be treated in Sochi.


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