Olympic Protests Starting Already. And Being Squashed

Russia has been hosting the world track and field championships over the last week or so and the protests against Russia’s horrible anti-gay laws have already begun. You’ve probably seen by now that two Russian sprinters kissed on the medal stand. And a Swedish high jumper painted her nails in rainbow colors to show her support of equality. Unfortunately, the International Amateur Athletic Federation forced her to repaint them:

Swedish high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro has repainted her nails after being warned by the IAAF that the rainbow colours she sported in qualification in support of gay rights were a breach of regulations…

Anders Albertsson, general secretary of the Swedish athletics federation, said before Saturday’s high jump final that they had talked with track and field’s governing body, the IAAF, over the issue and Green-Tregaro had revarnished her nails.

“We have been informally approached by the IAAF saying that this is by definition, a breach of the regulations. We have informed our athletes about this,” Albertsson said.

“The code of conduct clearly states the rules do not allow any commercial or political statements during the competition.”

So what if she just likes multi-colored nails? This is absurd. And cowardly.


  1. iknklast says

    When I was in high school, multicolored nails were the norm. I never wore them, but my sister did all the time. She wasn’t making a political statement, she was making a fashion statement.

    There are so many ways we can inadvertently violate a law like this. What about a tie-dye t-shirt? Those tend to be rainbow in color, as well.

  2. says

    Well, so much for all that freedom the downfall of Communism was supposed to bring. I was kinda wondering why all those staunch anti-communists weren’t bragging about how right they were all along…

  3. Abby Normal says

    The code of conduct clearly states the rules do not allow any commercial or political statements during the competition.

    I’m sure the athletes are torn up about having to return all their apparel sporting Adidas or Nike logos. But I suppose having the athletes compete in the buff will add a bit of authenticity.

  4. schism says

    The irony here is, this sort of behavior is the closest thing I’ve seen to the “PC run amok” stereotype in reality.

  5. Robert B. says

    *rolls eyes* International athletic competitions area political statement. More relevantly, so are any non-discrimination policies the IAAF has. Cowardly indeed.

  6. iplon says

    I’m waiting for the Onion article where everyone participating in the Olympics is arrested because the Olympic Rings were mistaken for mass signs of support for LGBT individuals.

  7. Skip White says

    So at what point would the Orthodox Church try to have “God” arrested if there was a rainbow in the sky?

  8. sivivolk says

    Er, it’s been reported in multiple places that the sprinters have denied that their kiss was intended as solidarity for LGB people, that it was a misinterpretation based on Western misunderstanding of Russian social mores, and that it’s “sick” that people think it was in support of LGB people.

  9. Robert B. says

    Isn’t it a little demeaning to be all “She just painted her nails, GEEZ?” Whatever the kissing may have been about, it looks like Green-Tregaro was in fact making an intentional pro-LGBT statement in a context where she could have faced serious consequences for it. I think that’s awesome, and it’s not cool to minimize it.

    Also the article describes how some guy in charge of Swedish athletics stuff was doing the least he could possibly get away with to enforce the stupid rules, which I also like.

  10. says

    Perhaps just a few of the biggest names in athletics will boycott the games. Then ratings will suffer, Russia’s moment in the spotlight would diminish, and they’ll forever be known as the Russian “Bigots on Ice” games, the athletes that do attend always having the specter of “but you didn’t compete against the best, so you’re not the best” hanging over them.

  11. eamick says

    It’s actually International Association of Athletics Federations; they acknowledged reality and changed the name about 10 years ago.

  12. says

    Kind of along the lines of sivivolk @11, isn’t kissing on the cheeks (or maybe “air kissing”) a thing in Russia like shaking hands is here? I too have heard the similar reports that they did not intend it as solidarity, and perhaps that is the source of the confusion. (Adding that it’s quite sad if they think it is “sick” that people would interpret it that way. So instead of a sign of solidarity, it’s sounding like they may be bigots themselves…or just don’t dare to appear otherwise.)

  13. jnorris says

    What will the international Olympic community and the Russians do if there is a rainbow over the site after a rain shower? Nuke the place?

  14. sezme says

    I think ALL (male and female) Olympians should start painting their fingernails in rainbow colors. Then, if the IOC tries to stop them, they can claim, “Hey, it’s just my thing.” and show photographs from months ago that it is true.

  15. mithandir says

    Sezme: Somehow I don’t think painting fingernails at a *winter* Olympics is going to make much of a splash. Though it would be impressive to have them all compete without gloves I guess.

  16. Red-Green in Blue says

    At this rate, these games are going to be broadcast in black and white, lest some unsuspecting viewer should see the national flag of the “Rainbow Nation” and turn into a raging homosexualist. In fact, to protect the poor people of Sochi, maybe all the competitors should just wear black, and I can suggest a appropriate symbol to replace those girly rings on the Olympic flag, one that became quite popular 80 years ago. Yes, that would set the tone nicely…

  17. ttch says

    The Olympic Charter, section “Fundamental Principles of Olympism”:

    6. Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.

    The document also contains multiple other references condemning discrimination, including an oath to be taken by new Committee members.

    Would an athlete quoting from the Charter be considered to be making a “political statement”?

  18. Pierce R. Butler says

    … the rules do not allow any commercial or political statements during the competition.

    Since the Church is taking a political stand, therefore all forms of iconography are therefore also banned. Right, Vladimir?

  19. tynk says

    For those of you playing the “multicolored” off as just happen stance. That sounds like what the bigots do. I want to see, and will do, an all out boycot of Russia. The Olympics do not allow political messages which is good. But the contestants, who have spent a large portion of their lives training for exactly this have political ideas.

    To dismiss them underhand by trying to hide their intentions… Is wrong.

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