During a news conference, President Barack Obama said he doesn’t think it’s appropriate to boycott the upcoming Olympic Games in Russia even though the country passed anti-gay legislation in recent months. Obama did share his hopes that gay athletes will do well at the Olympics.
LGBT activists across the world have pondered how to react ahead of February’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, with some calling for a boycott.
“We’ve got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard who are doing everything they can to succeed,” Obama said, according to Think Progress. “Nobody’s more offended than me about some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you’ve been seeing in Russia. But as I said just this week, I’ve spoken out about that not just with respect to Russia but with a number of other countries, where we continue to do work with them but we have a strong disagreement on this issue.”
USA Today also reported that Obama added, "One of the things I'm really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which I think would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes that we're seeing there.”
Obama's comments came the same week that he canceled a planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin over a string of disputes, including Russia's decision to grant asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
The Kremlin said it was "disappointed" by Obama's decision against a one-on-one meeting in Moscow.
During his news conference, Obama said that "I don't have a bad personal relation with Putin," and that the disagreements are professional.