Former Russian Olympian Who Lit Olympic Flame Once Tweeted Racist Photo Of Obama

Irina Rodnina, a member of Putin’s parliamentary party, gets a big honor on the opening day of Sochi Games.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum, Pool

Irina Rodnina and Vladislav Tretiak light the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony.

Former Russian figure skater Irina Rodnina, who had the honor of lighting the Olympic cauldron to close the opening ceremony, once tweeted out a racist photo of America’s first family.

The photo shows a hand waving a banana between President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. It was tweeted from Rodnina’s personal account in Sept. 2013 but was quickly deleted.

Rodnina, a member of parliament from Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and a triple Olympic champion figure-skater, said in September that she had originally received the photo from friends in America, and refused to apologize.

“Freedom of speech is freedom! Answer for your own complexes yourselves!” Rodnina tweeted in response.

There has been no further comment on the incident from Rodnina as the picture re-circulated on the Internet Friday.

Additionally, four of the six torchbearers at the opening ceremony voted for Russia’s anti-LGBT law and another law that banned Americans from adopting Russian children.

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