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Podium Kiss Between Two Russian Female Athletes Sparks Debate

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Gold medalist Tatyana Firova (L) and Kseniya Ryzhova of Russia kiss on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's 4x400 metres Relay during Day Eight of the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 at Luzhniki Stadium on August 17, 2013 in Moscow, Russia.

    It was a gold medal win, sealed with a controversial kiss.

    Two female athletes on the Russian track and field team shared a kiss that was caught on camera at the World Athletics Championship on Saturday.

    The gesture has launched a debate on whether 4x400 meter relay winners Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova were protesting their country's new anti-gay law or if the pair were merely exchanging celebratory kisses.

    The subject of gay rights has been hotly debated since the Russian government in June adopted a law that made it illegal to give minors information about homosexuality. Critics have since called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi as well has the consumption of Russian vodka.

    The contentious kiss comes on the heels of another Russian gold medalist's comments about her stance on the new law. Pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva sparked an angry reaction when she criticized athletes who rallied against the law.

    Isinbayeva later backtracked and said she was "misunderstood."

    "What I wanted to say was that people should respect the laws of other countries particularly when they are guests," she said in a statement. "But let me make it clear I respect the views of my fellow athletes, and let me state in the strongest terms that I am opposed to any discrimination against gay people on the grounds of their sexuality (which is against the Olympic charter)."

    The World Athletes Championships, taking place in Moscow, ends on Sunday.