BBC stars: Russian pole vaulter ‘not in touch with the rest of the world’ over anti-gay comments

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Last night, BBC sports commentators strongly criticised Russian pole vault champion, Yelena Isinbayeva over anti-gay comments she made after Emma Green Tregaro painted her nails in a show solidarity for Russia’s gay community.

Isinbayeva yesterday defended her country’s gay propaganda law by saying that it was about protecting “normal, standard people” from gays and those that demonstrated against it were “unrespectful [sic] to our country.”

BBC’s Denise Lewis and Michael Johnson last night gave their reactions to the comments that she made with Lewis describing her as “not in touch with the rest of the world” and said it was “damning for her as a global figure.”

Johnson went onto say “that’s she very popular here in Russia with a very small group of very powerful people who probably support that political position in this country.” He went onto say “as a global figure it’s not good for her but she’s thinking more short term, more insular.”

Isinbayeva’s role as Youth Olympics Ambassador also came under scrutiny last night as British heptathlete Louise Hazel said the Russian sportswoman was being “outwardly homophobic”  and she called on the International Olympics Committee to review what she said and “to question whether that is line with with their values and beliefs.”

The Russian star was made Youth Olympics Ambassador in 2010 and was at the time described as being “a true role model for young people.”