Russian runners kiss after winning gold at World Athletics Championship in Moscow

Posted By CAROLINE LEE UPI.com   |   Aug. 19, 2013 at 2:11 PM   |   Comments

Aug. 19 (UPI) -- After winning gold in the women's 4x400-meter relay at the IAAF Championships in Moscow on Saturday, Russian team members Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova kissed on the podium.

Afterward, all four women kissed.

Speculation has since arisen over whether it was a celebratory kiss or a political statement. Some say the kiss was a gesture in protest of Russia's new anti-gay law, which bans gay propaganda and imposes hefty fines on violators.

Either way, the kiss could get them in trouble with the government. The athletes may be subjected to fines if the Russian government considers the kiss to be spreading "propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations."

Ryzhova said the kiss was not intended as a political statement.

"It was just happiness for our team," which has trained together for many years, Ryzhova said on Monday. She did not comment on her attitude toward the recent laws. "If people want to write all sorts of dirt about us, they should at least know that Yulia and I are both married."

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