After a number of Swedish athletes painted their nails as a show of support for gay rights at this month’s World Athletics Championships in Russia, the Swedish Olympic Committee has stated that athletes at next year’s Winter Olympics, also in Russia, will not be allowed to do the same.
Among the Swedish athletes who made the headlines for making the silent protests were sprinter Moa Hjelmer and high jumper Emma Green Tregaro, both of whom painted their fingernails in the rainbow colours of the gay pride flag to make their feelings known on Russia’s gay propaganda laws.
Hjelmer later told Swedish radio that it is not up to the athletes to decide where the games are held, but it’s sad that Russia has such an attitude. She added that everyone should have equal rights.
However, the Swedish Olympic Committee has since come out and said that in next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, athletes will not be permitted to act in a similar way.
Head of the committee Stefan Lindeberg said that just as athletes can’t display adverts, they can’t display political symbols either, adding that it’s completely out of the question. He went on to say that everyone is entitled to their view on what goes on in different countries, but athletes can’t be using sporting arenas to make their feelings known.
Olympic regulations state that competitors are not allowed to demonstrate political, ethnic or religious propaganda which, according to Lindeberg, means those with their fingernails painted in the rainbow colours risk disqualification.