Repost from The Hill
President Obama on Friday rejected calls for the United States to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
“I know that one question that’s been raised is, how do we approach the Olympics? I want to just make very clear right now I do not think it’s appropriate to boycott the Olympics. We’ve got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed,” Obama said.
Some have said the U.S. should skip the Games in Sochi, Russia, over the country’s harboring of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Others have pushed the boycott to protest Russia’s treatment of gays and lesbians.
A law passed by Russia in June would ban “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” It would also levy fines on people staging gay pride rallies.
Obama spoke out against the law earlier this week and reiterated that criticism on Friday.
“Nobody’s more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you’ve been seeing in Russia,” Obama said. “But as I said just this week, I’ve spoken out against that, not just with respect to Russia, but a number of other countries where we continue to do work with them, but we have a strong disagreement on this issue.”
Obama said gay athletes from the United States could change attitudes in Russia by excelling at the Games.
“And 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,” he said.
Obama also said the Russian Olympic team would be weaker if gays and lesbians were not allowed to represent the country.
The International Olympic Committee said Friday it needs more clarification on the Russian law before it moves ahead with preparations for the games, according to The Associated Press. Watch a video of President Obama’s Speech