Olympic Flame Lighter Posted Shockingly Racist Tweet Of Obamas
Former Olympic pairs figure skater Irina Rodnina helped light the Olympic flame for Friday’s opening ceremony at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, but her actions from four months ago are sparking just as many headlines. The three-time Olympic champion, an MP from Vladimir Putin’s United Party, helped hockey legend Vladislav Tretiak light the flame. But it was her racist tweet related the Obamas last September that left many questioning the decision.
The tweet from Rodnina’s personal account show a photo of Barack and Michelle Obama chewing while a hand waves a banana in the background. But shockingly, Rodnina refused to apologize for the tweet this week. “Freedom is speech is freedom of speech and you should answer for your own hangups,” she wrote.
Two-time Olympic champion pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva helped carry the torch over to Rodnina, but Isinbayeva also got into hot water for comments that were perceived by some as homophobic. Speaking last year about Russia’s anti-gay laws, she said that “if we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people. We just live boys with woman, woman with boys. It comes from history. We never had any problems, these problems in Russia, and we don’t want to have any in the future.
Tennis champion Maria Sharapova, who first carried the Olympic torch into the arena, spoke out against Russia’s anti-gay laws during an interview last month with The New York Times.