Gabby Logan has spoken of her personal discomfort at presenting this month’s World Athletics Championships in Russia amid the furore over the country’s homophobic laws.
Speaking on the Channel 4 chat show The Last Leg, the presenter joked that learning about the country’s anti-gay stance had made her inclined to “hate all Russians”.
This year’s World Championships took place amid growing international criticism of a new Russian law against gay “propaganda”. Logan described flying out to Moscow at the same time that Stephen Fry published an open letter condemning homophobia in the country.
Commenting on her feelings after reading the letter, she said: “So I spent the first few days really disliking all Russians because I held them all accountable. Then I realised I was being quite angry with them and they didn’t know why I was being angry with them.”
When asked what form her anger took, she said on Wednesday night’s show: “Just I was unnecessarily snappy with them, I felt, and I couldn’t explain, ‘You’ve really got my back up about this,’ because I don’t know that in Russian. I do know how to order a coffee, but I don’t know anything about law and legal words in Russian.”
Logan also described her horror at the homophobic statement put out by Russia’s gold-medal-winning pole vaulter, Yelena Isinbayeva.
The presenter said: “It got worse because Isinbayeva, the pole vaulter, came out with her ludicrous statement. She did a press conference after she won her gold medal… and amongst the things she said was, ‘We’re a normal nation, we don’t do those kinds of things. Boys go out with girls’ – no, worse – ‘boys go out with women and women go out with boys,’ she said, which I thought was a bit dubious.”
She went on to say that she had not been “completely condemning” of Isinbayeva on air, “because that’s not my position”. She added: “I think I said something along the lines of, ‘It’s 2013, guys,’ so it wasn’t completely unknown what I was thinking.”
The broadcaster Clare Balding has also come under pressure to join a campaign to strip Russia of the Winter Olympics because of its homophobic law.
In response to Fry’s letter on the subject, she wrote: “I will be presenting from Sochi for the BBC. I will do so because I am a sports presenter who happens to be gay. I think the best way of enlightening societies that are not as open-minded as our own is not to be cowed into submission.”