Olympic Committee Accepts Yelena Isinayeva's "Clarification" At Face Value, Won't Pursue Action
The International Olympic Committee is under fire yet again today for embracing the prefectly timed "clarification" from Russian Olympian Yelena Isinayeva following her vehemently anti-gay (and crystal clear) remarks from Thursday.
Though Yelena insisted on Friday that she's against the discrimination of LGBT and other minority groups (following, of course, calls for her to be removed from the honorific post of "mayor" of the upcoming Sochi Olympic Village on Thursday night), her message earlier in the week was pretty straightforward.
“We consider us normal people, where boys live with women, women live with boys. It comes from our history," Yelena said while criticizing a competitor's rainbow Pride nails. "We never had any of these problems in Russia and we don’t want to have it in the future.”
But instead of reprimanding their Russian Olympic ambassador, the IOC has instead fully embraced her follow-up comments that basically amount to pointing the finger at us for misunderstanding. "English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood when I spoke yesterday," Yelena said in a statement released on Friday.
The IOC is totally cool with this statement and will not, as many fellow Olympians have asked, revoke Yelena's mayorship in the upcoming Winter Games.
The IOC said in a statement: “Clearly English is not her mother tongue and she has now clarified that she was misunderstood and that she is ‘opposed to any kind of discrimination against gay people’.
“We can only reiterate that the Olympic Games should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course athletes.”
The IAAF’s secretary general, Essar Gabriel, welcomed Yelena Isinbayeva’s latest statement.
“I think Yelena is very genuine about this,” he told the BBC. “I know Yelena very well myself, it is correct her English and her understanding of English is not the best and it’s great that she sought to explain exactly what she meant.
“She is somebody who has a great heart, and if she has a lack of English language which we know of she certainly should be careful. When I saw them [Thursday's comments] I thought that doesn’t respond to the character and what we know of Yelena.”