MOSCOW, August 20 (R-Sport) – Russian sprinters Ksenia Ryzhova and Yulia Guschina said Tuesday they are outraged at the reaction to their now-infamous podium kiss at the world athletics championships and denied it was an act of protest against Russia's controversial anti-gay law.
“Yesterday I got calls from probably 20 different media outlets and instead of congratulating us for the gold medal, they decided to insult me and Julia and the entire federation,” Ryzhova said at a Moscow press conference.
Ryzhova and Guschina are members of Russia’s gold medal-winning 4x400m relay team.
A photograph of the podium smooch circulated widely in international media, with many outlets suggesting the kiss was a premediated act of defiance and a possible test of the law.
Guschina slammed the image as the photographer's “sick fantasy.”
Ryzhova also emphasized to reporters that she and Guschina are both married and have “no personal relationship.”
“We’ve trained for eight years in the same group and there’s a really good friendship between us,” she said.
The contentious law bans the promotion of homosexuality to minors, though there remains a great deal of uncertainty over how it will be enforced.
Amid international calls for a boycott of next February's Sochi 2014 Olympics, the controversy hovered lightly over the world championships, with Russian pole vault great and reigning gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva vehemently defending the law on Thursday only to say later her comments "may have been misunderstood."
Swedish high jumper Emma Green Tregaro garnered attention that day when she painted her fingernails rainbow colors in support of gay rights during qualification. She competed in the final two days later with red paint after Swedish athletics officials told her doing so again might be in violation of IAAF conduct.
The championships concluded on Sunday.