Swedish high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro has repainted her nails after being warned by the IAAF that the rainbow colours she sported in qualification in support of gay rights were a breach of regulations.
Russian pole vault gold medallist Yelena Isinbayeva has provoked a furore at the World Athletics Championships over her outspoken anti-gay remarks, which she later tried to play down saying she was “misunderstood” and opposed to discrimination against homosexuals.
And she had called Green-Tregaro “unrespectful” to Russia after painting her nails in the colours of the rainbow flag that symbolises support for gay rights while competing in Moscow, a move that garnered acclaim elsewhere in the world.
Anders Albertsson, general secretary of the Swedish athletics federation, said before Saturday’s high jump final that they had talked with track and field’s governing body, the IAAF, over the issue and Green-Tregaro had revarnished her nails.
“We have been informally approached by the IAAF saying that this is by definition, a breach of the regulations. We have informed our athletes about this,” Albertsson said.
“The code of conduct clearly states the rules do not allow any commercial or political statements during the competition.”
Albertsson added that he had not put pressure on Green-Tregaro to change the colour of her fingernails, but “understood from Swedish media her nails are now red”.
“If she knows she might be breaking the rules, that’s a decision she takes, we don’t have any objections on how they paint their fingernails,” Albertsson said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law in June that punishes the dissemination of information about homosexuality to minors. But activists say it can be used for a broad crackdown against gays.
Fears it could be used against participants at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have sparked calls for a boycott of the event in some quarters and Russian officials have said all athletes will have to obey the law at the Games.