Green-Tregaro makes colourful statement on gay law

The controversial legislation, which was passed in June, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and has become a political hot potato ahead next year’s Sochi Winter Olympics, when it will apply to athletes and spectators.

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“It felt right,” Green-Tregaro told reporters, showing them her brightly coloured nails painted in red, yellow, gold, blue and purple.

“I wouldn’t say it was a protest more of a statement of what I think,” said the 28-year-old, adding she knew of one more Swedish athlete who had done it, 200 metres runner Moa Hjelmer.

Green-Tregaro, who qualified for Saturday’s final, got the idea after seeing a rainbow over Moscow shortly after her arrival in the Russian capital for the championships at Luzhniki stadium.

“When I first came to Moscow, the first thing I saw when I opened the curtains was a rainbow over Moscow and I thought that was a pretty good sign,” the 2005 world bronze medallist said.

“I hadn’t thought about it before then I decided to paint my nails. I usually do my nails in something that feels good for me and it was a simple way of showing what I think.”

World 800 metres silver medallist Nick Symmonds was more vocal in his criticism of the law in a blog for Runner’s World magazine earlier this month.

“These laws, which do not expressly prohibit being homosexual, criminalise public discussion of homosexuality, especially with foreigners,” he said.

“As an American, I believe in freedom of speech and equality for all, and therefore disagree with the laws that Russia has put in place.”

Foreign competitors and spectators in Sochi next year will have to abide by the law banning “gay propaganda”, which has led to some to call for a boycott of the Games.

Critics of the law have said it effectively disallows all gay rights rallies and could be used to prosecute anyone voicing support for homosexuals.

Last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it had sought clarification from Russia on how the law would be applied.

(Editing by John O’Brien)