Obama says against boycott of Russian Winter Olympics

US President Barack Obama said Friday he was against a boycott of Russia's Winter Olympics next year over a controversial new law banning "homosexual propaganda."

"I want to just make very clear right now, I do not think it's appropriate to boycott the Olympics," Obama said at a rate White House news conference.

"We've got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard. Who are doing everything they can to ... succeed."

Russia's President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June as part of a wider political crackdown, to the consternation of gay rights activists around the world, some of whom called for a boycott.

"Nobody's more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation that you've been seeing in Russia," Obama said.

"One of the things I'm really looking forward to is maybe some guy and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold, silver or bronze, which would I think go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes that we're seeing there."

He added: "If Russia doesn't have gay or lesbian athletes, it will probably make their team weaker."

Last month, US Senator Lindsey Graham said he thought the United States should consider a boycott of next February's Sochi Games if Russia were to grant intelligence leaker Edward Snowden asylum.

Moscow has since granted the 30-year-old one-year safe haven, resulting in a chill in US-Russian relations.

The call was rejected by the US Olympic Committee.

Americans boycotted the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics in the wake of the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan.

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