The Russian female sprinters who kissed on the podium at the track and field world championships in Moscow have denied that their smooch was anything more than a congratulatory statement. Many speculated that the kiss was a protest of Russia’s new anti-gay law, but Kseniya Ryzhova says that’s not the case.
The photo shows Ryzhova kissing Tatyana Firov on the lips in what seems to be an intentional fashion, but the 4×400-meter relay winner says it must have been an accident. “The storm of emotions going through us was incredible. And if we, accidentally, while congratulating each other, touched lips, excuse me. We think the whole fuss is more of a sick fantasy not grounded in anything,” Ryzhova tells the Associated Press.
As the outlet notes, Russian women “often kiss one another on the cheek when celebrating a happy occasion or even just in greeting.” While it makes sense that the pair kissed to celebrate winning the relay race, it’s easy to have doubts about whether their actual intent was as accidental as Ryzhova claims. After all, doesn’t the image of two women kissing classify as the spread of “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations” to minors, which the new Russian law has made illegal?