By Scotty Reid
Irina Rodnina, a Russian politician and described as Russia’s greatest Olympic skater which earned her the honor of lighting the Olympic Torch for the 2014 Olympic games has been exposed as a racist. A doctored photo Rodnina posted to Twitter some months back and then quickly deleted showed President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sitting on the sidelines of a sporting event staring at a banana that had been added to the phoyo. That photo resurfaced after Rodnina lit the Olympic Torch officially opening the 2014 Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi, Russia.
When questioned about the racist photo she posted to her Twitter account, Rodnina, who is now 64 years-old claimed American friends sent it to her. Rodnina used to live in the United States. Instead of offering an apology for spreading racist hate through social media, Rodnina wrote, “Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, and you should answer for your own hang-ups,”
United States ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, took to his Twitter account to condemn Rodnina at the time the photo was posted and said the former athlete turned politician is guilty of “outrageous behavior, which only brings shame to her parliament and country.” McFaul stopped short of calling Rodnina a racist.
Racist photos of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have been widely circulated among American conservatives since the start of his 2007 Presidential campaign.