Isinbayeva warns athletes to respect anti-gay law
Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva celebrates with a performer dressed as the official mascot after winning the women's pole vault final at the 2013 IAAF World Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on August 13, 2013. Isinbayeva warned on Thursday athletes competing at next February's Sochi Olympics must respect a controversial law banning gay "propaganda" for minors.
The 31-year-old - regarded as a role model by many young Russians - added that, for her at least, heterosexuality was the norm.
The Russian authorities have said all athletes will be free and safe to compete at the Sochi Games regardless of their sexual orientation but must obey Russian law.
Foreigners found guilty of violating the law can not only be fined up to 5,000 rubles ($156, 114 euros) but face administrative arrest of up to 15 days and eventual deportation.
"We are tolerant of all existing opinions and respect all people," she said.
"But they must be respectful of our laws and not promote the ideas of non-traditional orientations (the official Russian term for homosexual relations) on the street.
"Propaganda of non-traditional relations would be a great sign of disrespect to our citizens, our country and our laws. Everyone who comes to the Olympics must respect our laws."
Isinbayeva has said she is going to take a break from competition to have a baby and, speaking in English, she made it clear what she saw as being a normal relationship.
"We just live with boys with women, women with boys," she said.
However, she also added that what people did behind closed doors was up to them.
"We are against propaganda of such relationships but we are not against what choice a person makes or who they make a relationship with."
Isinbayeva, who gave the World Athletics Championships in Moscow the spark it needed on Tuesday when she won her third world outdoor title, said there should be no boycott of the Games.
Several sports people have called for a boycott of the Sochi Games - the first Winter Olympics to be hosted by Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in June signed into law legislation that punishes the dissemination of information about homosexuality to minors but which activists say can be used for a broad crackdown against gays.
However, while Western leaders such as US president Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have criticised the law, they have ruled out a boycott as they said it would not be appropriate.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have also raised concerns the law may contravene their charter, but its' president Jacques Rogge said last Friday they still needed clarification over two paragraphs which were unclear after they had been translated into English.
Isinbayeva, though, said politicians and activists should not try and influence athletes.
"I do not support this boycott (idea)," she said at a press conference.
"I am against polemics. If politicians and other people who have nothing to do with sport want to use us in this boycott then I am against it.
"Any kind of relationships -- be it traditional or non-traditional -- and the Olympics are two different things which should not get mixed up together."
The last Olympics to be boycotted were the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles when the majority of the Eastern Bloc - Romania being an exception - retaliated for the West's boycott of the 1980 Games in Moscow over the then Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan.