Two Russian athletes who were part of a four-person team that won the women's 4x400m relay at the world championships on Saturday are denying that a kiss they shared on the victory podium was a protest against their country's strict new anti gay propaganda law. Kseniya Ryzhova and Yulia Gushchina were photographed kissing each other on the lips after they received their gold medals.
"For eight years we have not won a gold medal. You can't even imagine what it was like, when we understood that we'd won," Ryzhova said. She told media members that she and the three other members of the team were overcome with emotion. "It was a wave of unbelievable feelings and if somehow, completely by chance, while we were congratulating each other, our lips touched, I don't know in whose fantasy this all gets thought up."
She added: "Myself and Yulia are both married and we are not having any kind of relationship."
Both women were upset that the attention from the kiss had taken the spotlight off their victory. "These victories are hard to come by and we were happy. I don't understand how everything could be tarnished in such a way," Gushchina said.
Russia's pole vault gold medal winner, Yelena Isinbayeva, defended her country’s new legislation. "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," Isinbayeva said. "We just live boys with woman, women with boys."
Legislation banning the promotion of "gay propaganda" among minors was enacted in June, CNN reported. Many are now calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Games which are being held in Russia.