Pole vault great Yelena Isinbayeva condemned homosexuality Thursday after criticizing fellow competitors who painted their fingernails in rainbow colours to support gays and lesbians in the face of a new anti-gay law in Russia.
The Russian, who won her third world title Tuesday in front of a boisterous home crowd, came out in favour of the law which has drawn sharp criticism and led Western activists to call for a boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics in the Russian resort of Sochi.
“If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people,” Isinbayeva, a two-time Olympic champion, said in English. “We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys.”
At least two Swedish athletes — high jumper Emma Green Tregaro and sprinter Moa Hjelmer — competed Thursday at Luzhniki Stadium, the same venue that hosted the 1980 Moscow Olympics, with their fingernails painted different colours. (Photos: Moa Hjelmer/Instagram, Emma Green Tregaro/Instagram, Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images)
NHL is ahead of its time after partnering with You Can Play
"This is evolution for us,” says Gary Bettman from his office in New York, after an afternoon spent running the media gauntlet. The National Hockey League and the NHLPA had formally announced a partnership with You Can Play on Thursday, becoming the first league to partner with a group dedicated to fighting homophobia in sports, and the commissioner had toured the major networks. Now, Bettman sounds happy. He sounds proud.
“The way it will do the league good is it will create the right environment for the league and our fans,” Bettman said. “We have been very clear in terms of what we believe is the right thing.” He’s on speakerphone, and he says to hold on for a second so he can look up and read aloud the anti-discrimination language in the 2005 collective bargaining agreement. It included sexual orientation. This is a bigger step, though.
It’s been a little more than a year since You Can Play was launched in the wake of the death of Patrick Burke’s younger brother Brendan (pictured above with the rest of the Burke family, far right), who had come out to ESPN a few months before he died in a snowy car accident in Indiana. It has been a year of patience, even as things moved fast. Burke has been very careful not to shame sports into changing for the better, but instead has worked to convince them that YCP could be trusted. No angry press releases, no PR stunt. Just methodical work.
You Can Play already had a significant presence in the NHL, with over 60 players in its PSAs, from Zdeno Chara to Steven Stamkos to Carey Price. But now it’s part of the playbook, and that’s progress. (Photos: PNG/Files/Matthew Sherwood for National Post)
The women’s basketball team at Mission College expected the bleachers to be full and the hecklers ready when its newest player made her home court debut.
In the days leading up to the game, people had plenty to say about 6-foot-6-inch, 220-pound Gabrielle Ludwig, who joined the Lady Saints as a mid-season walk-on and became, according to advocates, the first transgendered person to play college hoops as both a man and a woman.
Coach Corey Cafferata worried the outside noise was getting to his players, particularly the 50-year-old Ludwig.
A pair of ESPN radio hosts had laughed at her looks, referring to her as “it.” And online threats and anonymous calls prompted the two-year college to assign the Navy veteran of Operation Desert Storm a safer parking space next to the gym and two police guards.
Last week, Ludwig gathered her 10 teammates at practice and offered to quit. This was their time to shine, she told the group of 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds. She didn’t want to be a distraction for the team. The other women said if Ludwig, whom they nicknamed “Big Sexy” and “Princess,” didn’t play, they wouldn’t either.
Didn’t she know she was the glue holding the team together?
“Then let’s just play basketball,” she replied solemnly, looking each teammate in the eye.
Read the full story. (Photos: Noah Berger/The Associated Press)