Russian female athletes kiss on winner’s podium

I think the IAAF and the Olympics have a real problem on their hands. It seems that the athletic world may have discovered human rights, and self-respect, and respect for their fellow athletes, and they like it.

Two female Russian athletes, Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova, who just won the 4×400 meter relay world championship in Moscow, decided to kiss on the lips on the winner’s podium yesterday.

What remains unclear is whether they intended the kiss as a protest Russia’s draconian anti-“gay propaganda” law that pretty much bans anyone in the country from being openly gay.  While Sky News and others think the kiss was intentionally political, others are less sure.

gay rainbow flag shutterstock

Of course, isn’t that ambiguity exactly the problem behind Russia’s new law?  It’s unclear what exactly is gay propaganda, thus leaving it up to the judgment of bigoted local officials.  This is the same problem the International Olympic Committee, and all national Olympic Committees face, defining illegal “gay propaganda.”

When is being gay a political statement, and when is it simply being gay.  Is being out a political statement?  What about holding hands with your same-sex husband in public?  Or acknowledging your same-sex spouse while giving an interview to the media.  What if you win the gold medal, and the first time your spouse sees you after your victory, he or she gives you a big happy kiss – is that propaganda?  It wouldn’t be if you’re straight, but if you’re gay, it seems it just might be.

And how about wearing the Star of David – which could be taken as a sign of Jewish pride – or wearing a cross (Christian pride).  Are those forbidden along with wearing rainbows?  Not to mention, are rainbows now banned by the Olympics?  You had better bet that the Russian authorities will be confiscating every rainbow they find on foreigners entering the country for the Olympics.

But to paraphrase the narrator on the Grinch: No one can stop the rainbow from coming.  All you need is six different colors of anything – lipstick, paper, nail polish – and you’ve got yourself a rainbow flag.  Really, all you need is an internet connection and a printer.

And God forbid it rain, followed by a rainbow. Putin might just have to arrest God.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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24 Responses to “Russian female athletes kiss on winner’s podium”

  1. neroden says:

    Actually, that’s a particularly smart response.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dumbest argument yet. What if you banned straight people from kissing? Go to Saudi Arabia where you will have your wish.

  3. Chuck says:

    Russia got it right with this law. Also I don’t watch the Olympics to see athletes kiss I watch it to see them compete. The same thing goes for society I don’t go out day to day to see people kiss and make out.

    That’s all and I hope everyone has a great day!

  4. cyxuzoqytowi says:

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

    My recollection is that during
    past summer Olympics, it was common to see the Russian men’s gymnastics
    team members lock lips between exercises. I suspect that as a
    consequence of Russian blowback over these two women’s innocent smooch,
    we will be seeing less of that.

  5. labman57 says:

    Very reminiscent of the “black power” symbolism exhibited at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.

    The faces, places, and means of expression changes, but the underlying quest for equality and civil rights remains the same.

  6. rerutled says:

    Since we now know that this type of kissing is not viewed as reflecting sexual intimacy, it seems obvious what should happen: American Olympic Athletes should kiss each other every single chance they get. On the podium, during the opening ceremonies, during interviews. I mean, what are the police going to do? Start judging what constitutes a friendly kiss, like Russians often give each other, and what constitutes a pro-gay political protest?

  7. Thom Allen says:

    It’s hard to believe that this was an act of protest when, supposedly >70% of the Russian people support the repression of LGBTQs. With people already being beaten and arrested for violating this “law” and the fact that the entire Russian sports establishment would come down on them – along with the police and similar Russian thugs – my guess is that this wasn’t a protest. If it was, they are two very brave women. I haven’t heard any follow-up on what they said or what happened after they kissed. It may take a few days to find out conclusively.

  8. Thom Allen says:

    And once Russian gays are invisible, they can be more easily disappeared into camps or ovens and no one would know – and the majority of the Russians will be relieved.

  9. Naja pallida says:

    I get that it’s commenting on the uncertainty of what exactly constitutes “gay” under the Russian law, but if we’re going to start reporting on every ambiguous kiss they’re just going to turn it around on us and point out how it is a sign of the immaturity of Americans, and their stuck-up attitudes about sex, that every kiss, or every bit of physical contact between members of the same sex is automatically a gay gesture – much less a form of political protest.

  10. karmanot says:

    Cup players—there you go—–gay :-)

  11. Bill_Perdue says:

    The Putin regime will have to face the consequences for the bigoted laws it passed and it’s incitement to violence just as the Obama regime will have to face the consequences for refusing to pass ENDA or to repeal DOMA, and now Section two of DOMA.

    Our Russian brothers and sisters are going to demonstrate at Sochi (instead of boycotting Sochi) and judging from the reaction so far they’ll get lots of support here, in Europe and from across the world. The solution to Putin’s anti-gay offensive will be found in Russia in alliances between ourselves and workers, unions, youth, the women’s movement and others.

    The solution to the bigotry of the Democrats and Republicans will likewise be in battles between the GLBT communities, in alliances with the left, unions, feminists, pro-choice groups, people of color moving towards independent political action and immigrant groups. The left is growing – – “Seattle voters sent a clear message to an out-of-touch political establishment
    on August 6 that they are fed up with business as usual, and are looking for an
    alternative to corporate-pandering politicians like Richard Conlin. Kshama
    Sawant …. won a stunning 35% of the vote, a number that will likely
    rise as late ballots are counted.” And unions, long our most important supporters, are developing large leftwing caucuses.

  12. Bill_Perdue says:

    The women were making a point about homophobia.

  13. Bill_Perdue says:

  14. Bill_Perdue says:

    The women were making a point about homophobia. The incident you show was one German leader and one Russian leader. Americans do it too.

  15. BeccaM says:

    This is what comes of a law that was motivated by pure animus, poorly defined, badly written, and almost entirely subjective in interpretation.

    If I, as a woman, have any affectionate physical contact with another woman, such as a hug or a kiss on the lips, is it ‘gay propaganda’? Is it illegal propaganda only if someone happens to know I’m gay? Suppose it is two people of the same gender who are known to be straight do this. What then?

    In any event, I think we know the real purpose of Russia’s pogrom-enabling law: They want gay people in Russia to be invisible, so if any two adults of the same gender are seen expressing affection, it literally does not enter the minds of anybody that they could be gay. Rather Orwellian when you consider it.

  16. Bj Lincoln says:

    Putin arresting God. That is funny. I do bet he is pissed right now because they have to do something and anything they do will make them out to be weak or bigger assholes.

  17. DastiusKrazitauc says:

    Russian Davis Cup players, Dmitry Tursunov and Igor Andreev. To think, there might have been children in the audience!

  18. skwcw2001 . says:

    while I am proud of them, Im terrified for them. They could get very badly hurt by this or destroyed. I hope they are safe and are careful

  19. jomicur says:

    Our local NBC outlet reported the story in the early morning news today, with footage. They said nothing about ambiguity; they reported the kiss as a flat-out protest. I find myself wondering if they’ll be hearing from NBC corporate.

  20. Thom Allen says:

    According to Guide to Russia, kissing between men is OK. Of course, under the new law, GAY men kissing isn’t OK. Brezh sure got around. And who can forget shrub taking a walk in the wildflowers with that Saudi guy when he went on a Piece mission?

  21. cole3244 says:

    since the vast majority of homophobes are male two women kissing or being gay is not a threat to the immature male ego (homophobes only).

    as a matter of fact two women getting it on as they say is a turn on to the little boys who are threatened by men loving and caring for each other, rw conservatives be gone you are only making life miserable for the rest of us and earth would be a happier place without your hangups.
    ps – take all religious zealotry with you.

  22. Dave says:

    My recollection is that during past summer Olympics, it was common to see the Russian men’s gymnastics team members lock lips between exercises. I suspect that as a consequence of Russian blowback over these two women’s innocent smooch, we will be seeing less of that.

  23. kingstonbears says:

    OMG!! Tongue on tongue

  24. Rob NYNY says:

    Russians kiss a lot.

    Here’s Brezhnev kissing Honegger:

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