Russian pole vault champion to keep Olympic youth ambassador role despite homophobic comments

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Russian pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva is to keep her role as Olympic youth ambassador despite homophobic comments she made last month while competing at the World Athletics Championship.

Ms Isinbayeva told reporters last month that Russia needed its gay propaganda law to protect “normal, standard people.” In reference to a Swedish athlete painting her nails in a show of support for Russia’s LGBT community she said it was disrespectful and that people visiting Russia had to respect the law.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge had announced earlier this week that Ms Isinbayeva’s role would be under discussion at its annual congress but a source from the IOC has told R-Sport that it is unlikely her position shall be revoked.

The source told R-Sport that: “I don’t think she will be stripped of her status, Rogge wasn’t as categorical as the media reported. This topic is heated up, but there is no controversy here, it’s just the way the media present it.”

The IOC has come under heavy criticism for it’s handling of the situation involving Russia with it being announced that athletes that protest Russia’s anti-gay laws shall face disqualification.

The Russian Government has sent the IOC reassurances that the law it has passed is not discriminatory and that is shall uphold the Olympic Charter. President Vladimir Putin has also reassured that world that the Games can take place smoothly, this is despite the Interior Ministry promising to uphold the gay propaganda law during the Games.

Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed concern over the anti-gay law passed in Russia and has promised to raise the issue with Putin directly while attending the G20 summit this week.

President Barack Obama has promised to meet with gay rights leaders in Russia while attending the G20 summit.

Mr Rogge today admitted that there is little he can do to influence Russia over their anti-gay laws and that the IOC “cannot be expected to have an influence on the sovereign affairs of a country.”