Olympics

Celebratory kiss or a statement?

Image: Russian runners Tatyana Firova and Kseniya Ryzhova (© Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Tatyana Firova and Kseniya Ryzhova of Russia kiss on the medals podium.
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Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner is a general assignment writer for FOXSports.com. Originally from Orlando, Fla., he previously covered the Orlando Magic for FOX Sports Florida and has also covered the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and MLB playoffs. Follow him on Twitter.

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Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova were part of a Russian 4x400 meter relay team that won the gold medal at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, and after the race Saturday, the two shared a kiss on the medal podium.

Lolo Jones

SHOCKS AND TEARS

Lolo Jones was among those who couldn't escape controversy at the London Olympics.

The kiss is being viewed as the latest symbol of protest against Russia’s recently enacted anti-gay laws that have some calling for a boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.

American runner Nick Symmonds dedicated his silver medal in the 800 meters to his gay and lesbian friends back home, and Swedish high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro reportedly had to repaint her nails after painting them in multiple colors as a sign of support for gay rights.

However, with respect to this latest apparent act of defiance, a Sky News report states that "sources in the Russian camp claimed Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova ... were just exchanging a congratulatory kiss and there was no political message involved."

It’s not for us to definitively say what message Firova, 31, and Ryzhova, 26, did or didn’t intend to convey when they puckered up on the podium. But given the current climate in their native country, it sure seems like an interesting time for a celebratory smooch.

Tagged: Tatyana Firova, Nick Symmonds

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