Olympics: Gay slur puts champion's Games role in doubt

The International Olympic Committee will consider dropping Russian pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva as an Olympic ambassador after her comments about gay people, says president Jacques Rogge.

In his final solo news conference as IOC head, Rogge also said the committee has no power to influence Russia on the anti-gay legislation that has provoked an international outcry before February's Winter Games in Sochi.

"One should not forget that we are staging games in a sovereign state and that the International Olympic Committee cannot be expected to have an influence on sovereign affairs of a country," Rogge said.

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Isinbayeva spoke in defence of Russia's law against gay "propaganda" after winning the title at last month's world championships in Moscow.

Isinbayeva condemned homosexuality, saying Russians have "normal" heterosexual relations, and criticised two Swedish athletes who painted their fingernails in rainbow colours in support of gay rights.

The next day, Isinbayeva said her comments in English may have been misunderstood and that she is against any discrimination.

Her initial comments appeared to go against the IOC ideals and the promotional role she has held since 2010 as an ambassador for the Youth Olympics.

Isinbayeva is also the "mayor" of one of two Olympic villages in Sochi, an honorary but symbolic and visible role.

Asked whether it was appropriate for Isinbayeva to remain as an Olympic ambassador, Rogge said : "This is something we will consider in due time."

- AP

- NZ Herald

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