Olympics

Russian sprinters: Kiss not protest

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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MOSCOW (AP)

Quick kisses exchanged by four Russian female sprinters, exuberant after winning a relay race at the world championships in Moscow, have set off a flurry of speculation that they were protesting Russia's new controversial law against gays.

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But two of the athletes, who appeared to brush lips while kissing each other on the cheek, insisted Tuesday that was not the case.

Kseniya Ryzhova, one of the 4 x 400-meter relay winners, said: "The storm of emotions going through us was incredible. And if we, accidentally, while congratulating each other, touched lips, excuse me. We think the whole fuss is more of a sick fantasy not grounded in anything."

Russian women often kiss one another on the cheek when celebrating a happy occasion or even just in greeting.

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