Russian Athletes In 'Gay Kiss' Photo Deliver Furious Denial That They Were Protesting Anti-Gay Laws

Two Russian runners
who kissed on the medal stand after winning the women’s 4x400m relay in Moscowlast weekend say they weren’t protesting the country’s new “gay propaganda” laws, calling the implication insulting.

Runner Ksenia Ryzhova said at a press conference today that there was no political motive when she kissed Yulia Gushchina on the lips, “Instead of congratulating the athletes, they (the press) decided to insult not only Yulia but the whole (Russian) athletics federation. First of all, both Yulia and I are married.”

Ryzhova also said the assumption that it was a gay protest kiss was the result of sick fantasies, “It was a wave of unbelievable feelings and if somehow, completely by chance, while we were congratulating each other, our lips touched … whoever fantasizes about that is sick.”

In the aftermath, some speculated that the two could have been arrested for the kiss.

It’s a blow to activists looking for high-profile athletes (specifically, Russian athletes) to speak out against the laws, which ban public behaviour that promotes homosexuality.

It’s still unclear how the laws will be applied to athletes, with the IOC still awaiting clarification from the Russian government.

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