Pole Vault champion and home-town darling Yelena Isinbayeva has been forced to clarify comments she made in the wake of her victory in the Pole Vault competition about controversial new anti-gay legislation in Russia.
The 31-year-old controversially backed new anti-gay laws in an interview given yesterday, but now claims she was misunderstood because English was not her “first language”
On Thursday, the legendary pole-vaulter caused outrage among fellow athletes and pundits alike by coming out with a controversial set of comments.
“We consider ourselves, like normal, standard people, we just live boys with women, girls with boys. It comes from the history,” she said.
“What I wanted to say was that people should respect the laws of other countries, particularly when they are guests.”
On Friday, her remarks were far more concilatory;
She said: “English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood.
“I am opposed to any discrimination against gay people on the grounds of their sexuality.”
The new laws prohibit under-18 s (minors) from being told about homosexuality, with a series of fines and imprisonments meted out to those who disobey. New laws in 2012 also have banned gay-pride marches in Moscow for the next 100 years.
The new laws are a culmination of years of rising anti-gay sentiment in Russia in stark contrast to the rest of the world, which is heading in the opposite direction. Reports of mass forced evictions, labour rights abuses, and corruption involving the gay and lesbian have followed, provoking a mass outcry across the world, and calls for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi have been gathering speed in the Western world over the past few weeks and months.
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