WATCH: President Obama Does Not Support An Olympic Boycott

8.9.2013

By Andrew Belonsky

'One of the things I'm really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold…'

President Obama held a pre-vacation press conference with reporters at the White House today and was asked about the United States's increasingly frayed relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Though he was specifically asked about Edward Snowden, not gays or the Olympics, the President did take time to again assail Putin's anti-gay regime.

"Nobody's more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you've been seeing in Russia," he said, but not until after saying he, like Greg Louganis, does not support boycotting the Winter Olympics being held in the Russian resort town of Sochi. "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."

The president also said he's "looking forward" to seeing gay and lesbian athletes bring some medals back to the States. And not having gay and lesbians teammates, he suggested, will only make Russia's teams weaker. Said Mr. Obama, "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. And if Russia doesn't have gay or lesbian athletes, then that would probably make their team weaker."

Here's a complete transcript of his LGBT remarks as well as video:

"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. Nobody's more offended than me by 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 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.

"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. And if Russia doesn't have gay or lesbian athletes, then that would probably make their team weaker."

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