Will Yelena Isinbayeva lose Olympic ambassador role?

Yelena Isinbayeva
1 Comment

Outgoing International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge‘s press conference Wednesday was largely uneventful, save a nine-word answer to a question about Russia’s most famous track and field athlete.

Rogge, 71, was asked if it is appropriate that two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva remains in an Olympic ambassador role after her headline-making comments about Russia’s anti-gay law at the World Track and Field Championships.

“This is something we will consider in due time,” said Rogge, who is stepping down after 12 years at the helm with a successor being voted in Tuesday.

Isinbayeva defended Russia’s law banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors at worlds, was criticized for it and, the next day, said her comments may have been misunderstood in her non-native English.

Rogge was more critical of Isinbayeva immediately after Isinabyeva’s comments in August.

“It was disappointing,” he told the BBC. “Fortunately she reacted to that and addressed that by second declaration. But she should not have done that. She should not have intervened with such words and such a debate. It was definitely an ill-advised judgment.”

Russian news outlet R-Sport reported Thursday that an unnamed IOC source doesn’t think Isinbayeva will be stripped of her status as Youth Olympic Games ambassador. She is also the honorary “mayor” of one of two Olympic villages for the 2014 Sochi Games in February and is expected to be a torch bearer during the relay.

“Rogge wasn’t as categorical as the media reported,” the source told R-Sport. “This topic is heated up, but there is no controversy here, it’s just the way the media present it.”

Vladimir Putin addresses anti-gay law, more in interview