Russian athlete Yelena Isinbayeva has back-tracked from apparent anti-gay comments.
The pole vault champion blamed her poor English for a statement in which she seemed to say that homosexuals are not normal while supporting Russia’s recently-adopted law that bans some aspects of the promotion of homosexuality
US runner and world silver medallist Nick Symmonds is not convinced. He said: “She crossed the line to me in that she’s not recognizing the normality of our gay and lesbian friends and not wanting their happiness and their rights. How an intelligent, well-travelled lady like herself could be so far behind the free world”
And a leading gay activist in Russia, Nikolai Alexeyev, said at the least she should have thought more about what she was saying.
He added: “Russia should first abide by its own international obligations before it demands foreigners abide by its own laws here. Therefore, unfortunately, Isinbayeva has made a big mistake. She realised it today and started trying to get out of this situation. She tried to deny what she said.”
This is the latest gay related row in the run up next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The law, which makes it illegal to give under-18s information about homosexuality, has been widely condemned sparking calls for a boycott of the Socchi Olympics.