(AP) Obama rejects boycott of Olympics in Russia
By DONNA CASSATA
President Barack Obama rejected the idea of the United States boycotting the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year despite several significant disputes with Russia.
Answering questions Friday at a White House news conference, Obama said the United States was reassessing its relationship with Moscow but that U.S. athletes should not be penalized by the nations’ differences.
Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in the ongoing civil war and Moscow’s decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden have roiled the already uneasy relationship.
Obama also said he was deeply offended by Russia’s new law cracking down on gay rights activism that sports officials have said would be enforced during the Games in February. He suggested that the policy could work against Russia in its quest for Olympic gold.
The U.S. Olympic Committee welcomed Obama’s comments saying a boycott would be wrong.