From Russia with love, or at least acceptance

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Russian 110 m hurdler Sergey Shubenkov is currently top in his field. And given his open-mindedness, an undeserved credit to his homeland of mother Russia when it comes to accepting gays:

"Russian Sergey Shubenkov, who won bronze in the 110-meter hurdles at the World Track and Field Championships on Monday, also made news earlier this month by appearing in nude photos in Russia’s Vogue magazine.

"I wanted to please fans, especially female ones, but if any males liked it, I’m also not against it," Shubenkov told R-Sport.

Russia’s Vogue website published the photos (warning: explicit images) with an article here.

Shubenkov’s comment is particularly noteworthy given the recent news of Russia’s law against "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" toward minors.

"I wanted to raise interest to athletics and in me personally, so that more people come to the stands," Shubenkov said. "We know that track and field is not as popular in Russia as it is in Europe or America.""

Those Vogue photos need no translation:

Striking a pose

Sergey's Vogue

But it's that winning smile that draws eyes:

Man in the middle