Olympic trial tourny forces Swedish athlete to paint over rainbow nails

I swear, this entire controversy is sounding more totalitarian, more Soviet, every day.  The IAAF, the international sporting body that held an Olympic-qualifying World Athletics Championships competition earlier this week in Moscow, got the Swedish sporting federation to force a Swedish athlete, Emma Green Tregaro, to paint over her rainbow-colored fingernails.

Why?  Because the nails were a subtle protest against Russia’s new draconian anti-gay law, that the Russians have promised will be used against athletes, guests and media at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Yes, the rainbow is now a threat to the integrity of international sporting.

Whereas, promising to jail athletes who are gay, and gay-friendly, is apparently not a threat.  You’ll note that neither the IAAF, nor the International Olympic Committee, seem to have done very much to coerce the Russians to rescind their law, a law which the US Olympic Committee, to its credit, recently said is “inconsistent with Olympic principles.”

What’s also odd is that while Green Tregaro was scolded for painting her nails in the colors of the rainbow, we’ve heard nothing about Russian pole vaulter, and Olympic Village honorary “mayor,” Yelena Isinbayeva, who earlier this week held a press conference, with all sorts of corporate names emblazoned on the wall behind her, in which she suggested that gay Olympians are not “normal.”

Yelena Isinbayeva

Yelena Isinbayeva

No word on whether the Olympics/IAAF have also threatened Isinbayeva for her anti-gay politics, or whether you only get into trouble with these folks when you’re pro- human rights.

Also no word on what the Olympics plan to do about Finnish Sport and Culture Minister Paavo Arhinmäki, who not only gave Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko – Mutko recently threatened to arrest gay and gay-friendly Olympians – a spanking in Moscow last week, but then Minister Arhinmäki proceeded to wave a rainbow flag while watching the same tournament that now got Sweden’s Green Tregaro in trouble.

Finnish Sports and Culture Minister Paavo Arhinmäki (photo by Magnus Fröderberg)

Finnish Sports and Culture Minister Paavo Arhinmäki (photo by Magnus Fröderberg)

Maybe the Russians will try to arrest the Finnish Minister. It’d be interesting to see them try.  Russia may have gotten away with man-handling Finland in the past, but it seems it’s the dawn of a new day… for all of us.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • Nisa Goetz

    If they will arrest athletes and participants in the upcoming Olympics, then they will ruin the very essence of Olympics- equality and camaraderie.
    quit smoking blog

  • Ninong

    I doubt he would be arrested in the US but his phone calls will probably be recorded and his emails copied. Come to think of it, I guess the NSA does that all over the world now.

    He might want to avoid changing planes in London. I hear you can get held for 9 hours at the airport there for questioning about imaginary terrorist ties.

  • flpajackman

    Hi USA!

    I don’t think Russia would try to arrest our minister, but I wouldn’t be surprised if USA would.

    At least a person as radical as Arhinmäki is, he might be a terrorist.

    If he would do something as radical in USA (like protest against a organization like NSA for violating privacy of foreign people like Finns who never even been to US) Russia might even offer him a sanctuary.

    Isn’t it funny how quickly the tides change. Just a little while ago, good people fled to US, now they have to flee from the US…


  • Thanks, I figured one of you literary geniuses would have a better Russian reference for me. I crank out these columns as fast as Republicans sling homo-hate. I do my best to proof them for stupid grammar and spelling mistakes. I’m fully aware that some of my analogies, metaphors and satire may fall short at times. I’m counting on those being mostly overlooked by my receptive audience. LOL. Enjoy.

  • cyxuzoqytowi

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

    It just goes to show this is nothing more than oppression of even the
    most minimal of support towards gays. That’s very frightening.

  • Most likely because as rhetorical tricks go, concern trolling is among the most passive aggressive, as well as disingenuous.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    In the Soviet days I imagine she would have just disappeared. This sounds more like something that would happen in the U.S.

  • EdA

    There is no GOOD reason why the Olympics cannot be moved to Lillehammer, Norway, which has already hosted the Winter Olympics and which is also scheduled to host the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics.

  • Zorba

    Hahahahahaha! Well, I wouldn’t want to get that Russian woman angry at me, that’s all I know. ;-)

  • Zorba

    The whole “concern troll” thing really irritates the living sh!t out of me. If someone disagrees, then they should own their disagreement and make their arguments for their side. But being a “concern troll” is a pusillanimous way of showing one’s disagreement.

  • Or, as Nicho noted, a chronic case of concern trollism.

  • Zorba

    Ever hear of the Summer Olympics? The Winter Olympics aren’t the only Olympics, you know. John said nothing about the World Athletic Championships being qualifiers for the Winter Olympics.

  • Zorba

    Now, now. Although there are definitely some things to criticize Pasternak about, it is still a great book, and a very, very good movie (although the book was better than the movie, IMHO). Both the book and the movie were banned in the Soviet Union.
    I’m not getting rid of my copies of Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” and “Crime and Punishment,” either. Nor Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina.” Nor the music of Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Stravinsky. ;-)

  • It’s not that the IOC is all bark and no bite Bj. The IOC supports anti gay discrimination and the Russian pogrom.

  • FLL

    The post doesn’t claim that she is competing in the Winter Olympics. It only mentions “Russia’s new draconian anti-gay law, that the Russians have promised will be used against athletes, guests and media at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.” That statement is accurate. Any repressive action against any athlete happening now in Russia (even if it’s a soccer team) is pertinent to the calls to move or boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics.

  • Zorba

    Yeah, I didn’t see anything that said it was a Winter Olympics qualifying event. Just “Olympics.” Which it is, for the Summer Olympics in 2016. Many countries, such as the United States, look at your gold medals at the IAAF World Athletic Championships during the previous four years, to qualify you for their Olympic teams.
    Apparently, Denguyfl either has a problem with leaping to conclusions, or comprehension. Or both.

  • At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if Russia will also outlaw prisms and misty rainstorms…

    “The piece of refractive glass was maliciously placed so as to disrespect Russian laws!”

  • nicho

    Concern noted.

  • Bj Lincoln

    NO matter what the Russian government does about all these brave people, they have lost face. If they arrest any of them, including the two girls that kissed, the world is watching and will go off on them for being ass holes. This will offer more ammunition for the IOC to move the games to Canada. If they don’t do anything it will make them look as if they are all bark and no bite.
    Thank you all for your brave open defiance of these paranoid and hateful laws.

  • The second sentence in the first paragraph is clear enough and is accurate.

  • Denguyfl

    She is a high jumper. The high jump is not in the Winter Olympics. She is competing in the World Athletic Championships. Inaccuracies hurt our cause.

  • Randy

    This is just nuts. A rainbow is a symbol of gayhood, yes, I’ll agree. But it’s only a symbol, and hardly much of one at that. If she had painted two people of the same sex kissing or having sex, these idiots might have a point. But it’s a long convoluted road from painted finger nails to “corrupting” youth.

    I would like to ask anyone in Sweden if they seriously think some kid is going to “turn” gay in Russia because a woman has rainbow nails. What next? Banning nature’s rainbows too?

    It just goes to show this is nothing more than oppression of even the most minimal of support towards gays. That’s very frightening.

  • I’m about ready to try and get a refund for my VHS copy of Dr. Zviago . What a bunch of withering goobers. There’s some not so subtle backhanded rightwing bitchslapping in my Sunday blog offering outlining my vision of he perfect atheist church/service:

    “We’ll know we’re on our way to victory when former Mormons and Muslims agree to stop gay bashing and battle instead on the best brand of Bordeaux to serve at The Pulpit of Timtations between energetic sessions of congo and tambourine-based devotional offerings.”

    Full post.



  • Thank you. And I appreciate the comment, as I really do think that’s what good blogs excel at it – not perhaps always reporting “news,” but rather expert analysis that explains the bigger picture by connecting the dots, as you put it.

  • Lthomas320

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, John for this. Brilliant as always. And for all the times I’ve neglected to express gratitude to you for your connect-the-dots reporting, thank you again.

  • Carbuyer dude

    I am in the market for a car. (My current 2000 Honda has had enough.) I was looking at Toyotas. And I’d like to announce here and now: Because TOYOTA is featured behind the bigot’s head, sponsoring her bigoted remarks, I won’t be buying a Toyota. That’s the last thing I will buy. Holy cow. What ugly remarks. How can any corporation sponsor this circus of hate? And that’s what it is: a circus. Full of ignorant clowns. Do they not see how ridiculous they look? And then to have a big corporation sponsor it. To put money behind it. Hello, FORD.

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