Gay rights high jumper forced to repaint rainbow nails

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    Sep 17, 2013 6:26 PM GMT
    Sweden's Emma Green Tregaro competes during the women's high jump final at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow on August 17, 2013

    The Swedish high jumper who painted her fingernails in the colours of the rainbow to support gay rights at the world championships took the field Saturday with bright red nail polish this time.

    Emma Green Tregaro had been told by Swedish officials that the rainbow gesture, which brought international attention as a protest against Russia's new law against gay "propaganda," could be a violation of the competition's code of conduct.

    "It was harder to not paint them in the rainbow than it was to choose to paint them," Green Tregaro said Saturday. "I'm surprised by the big reactions but I'm happy about the big reaction because it's mostly been very positive."

    The 28-year-old Green Tregaro won the bronze medal at the 2005 world championships, but she only managed to finish fifth on Saturday at Luzhniki Stadium.

    She said the Swedish athletics federation asked her to "please respect the rules" and change the colour of her nails.

    "So I decided to paint them red instead, for love," Green Tregaro said.

    Green Tregaro's decision on Thursday was a quiet criticism of a Russian law that bans so-called propaganda supporting homosexuality to minors. Russian pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva later said it showed disrespect to Russia.

    The general secretary of the Swedish athletics federation said earlier Saturday that the IAAF, the sport's governing body, had warned them that Green Tregaro may have violated the code of conduct.

    "They were saying that this was by definition a breach of the regulations, not saying anything else, really," Anders Albertsson said. "We have informed our athletes about this."

    Green Tregaro said that Swedish officials were standing by her.

    "But I didn't want the federation to experience any consequences in any way for my choice," Green Tregaro said.

    Isinbayeva's criticism of the Swedish athlete's gesture attracted wide attention because she also said she supported Russia's law and that Russians have "normal" heterosexual relations.

    In the wake of the attention, Isinbayeva said the next day she may have been misunderstood because she was speaking in English rather than her native language. She also said she is against discrimination.
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    Sep 18, 2013 1:48 PM GMT
    It is funny (?) that such a small gesture leads to such big reactions. In a tolerant society this gesture wouldn't get so much attention and not the protests against it either.

    Emma Green Tregaro did the right thing.
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    Sep 18, 2013 2:14 PM GMT
    So now a swedish girl painting her nails in rainbow colors is somehow an insult to Russia? And swedish officials actually summon her to remove it..
    Seriously, 10 years ago sweden would have given the russians the finger. But then, 10 years ago a rainbow flag wouldn't have been a problem in russia to begin with.