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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