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Russian athletes’ kiss raises questions over LGBT law

Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova shared a kiss on the medal stand Saturday, sparking a debate over whether the gesture was a sign of celebration, or a protest of their country's anti-LGBT laws.
/ Source: Weekends With Alex Witt

Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova shared a kiss on the medal stand Saturday, sparking a debate over whether the gesture was a sign of celebration, or a protest of their country's anti-LGBT laws.

Russian athletes Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova shared a kiss on the medal stand Saturday after winning gold at the World Athletics Championships in the 4×400 meter relay, sparking a debate over whether the gesture was a sign of celebration, or a protest of their country’s anti-LGBT laws.

Neither athlete has released a statement about the kiss and it was unclear Sunday if it was in protest. The kiss nevertheless flies in the face of Russia’s law banning any form of “homosexual propaganda.”

Russia’s Tatyana Firova (R) and Russia’s Kseniya Ryzhova kiss after winning the women’s 4×400 metres relay final at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow. (Photo by Yuri Kadobnovyuri/AFP Getty Images)

Earlier in the week, another Russian track athlete, Yelena Isinbayeva, backtracked on comments that appeared to support the law.

“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,” said Isinbayeva Thursday. “We just live with boys with women, women with boys.”

LGBT activists have called for a boycott of the upcoming Sochi winter olympics in protest over the law, which grants officials the authority to arrest gay people or those suspected of being gay.

From left: Yulia Gushchina, Kseniya Ryzhova, Tatyana Firova and Antonina Krivoshapka of the Gold winning team in the women’s 4×400 metres at the IAAF World Athletics Championship. (Photo by Grigory Dukor/Reuters)