Moments after winning the 4X400 relay at the World Championships in Moscow on Saturday, two Russian runners shared a very public, perhaps politically charged kiss.
Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova's embrace could've been an extremely congratulatory peck, or it could've been an overt renunciation of Russia's recent law, banning the spread of “homosexual propaganda”. Neither athlete has commented, but the gesture -- one would assume -- might have rankled organizers for next year's 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi.
Some athletes have called for boycotting the games, while others, such as MLS player Robbie Rogers, have encouraged gay athletes to compete.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said the law, which bans the distribution of gay propaganda to minors, won't affect the athletes or spectators. Still, his comparisons to alcohol and drugs seemed a bit dubious.
“We want to protect our children whose psyches have not formed from the propaganda of drug use, drunkenness, and non-traditional sexual relations,” Mutko said to the AP.
“I can say once again that the freedoms of Russian and foreign athletes and guests who come to Sochi will be absolutely protected.”
The question then arises: does a public kiss (congratulatory or politicized) constitute the spread of propaganda?