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U.S. Snowboarder Hannah Teter: Boycott The Sochi Olympics

Another U.S. athlete speaks out about the Russian law: 'That’s what snowboarders do, we break rules'

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American snowboarder Hannah Teter, the 2006 Olympic gold medalist in the half-pipe event, says she’d support a boycott of the Sochi Olympics because of Russia’s law banning public support for homosexuality. “I think that’s crazy,” Teter, who won silver in the half-pipe in Vancouver and is vying for a spot in the 2014 Games, tells TIME at the U.S. Olympic Media Summit in Park City, Utah.  “I think we should we be way beyond that whole thing going down there. I mean, it seems very inhumane to me, in a way. And to support Russia by going to the Olympics is kind hard because of their views on that subject. So I mean I think almost in a way it should be boycotted. To show an example, like, we aren’t going to support, you know, going to the biggest event in the world if you’re going to have these laws in place when we get there, that are totally wrong. I mean, it would be hard to organize something like that so late, but if somebody did I would definitely be a part of it.”

U.S. Olympic officials have said U.S. will not boycott the Sochi Games.

Even if the U.S. did boycott, Teter realizes that such a move might not push Russia to change the law. “Putin is very  – not the smartest guy in the world,” says Teter. “So I don’t think it would really do much. Usually boycotts sometimes don’t really accomplish anything besides the fact that you show you that don’t agree with what’s going on.”

IOC rules prohibit political demonstrations at Olympic venues, and if Teter or any of her teammates made a pro-gay rights gesture on the podium, or in the streets, they may be subject to punishment by the IOC or even Russian authorities. Still, Teter says she’d consider making some kind of statement in Sochi. “Oh for sure,” Teter says. “I would definitely do whatever, anything that would help with the process of them changing their views on that subject.” Even if that meant breaking a rule or law? “That’s what snowboarders do, we break rules,” Teter says. “That’s our sport, that’s where we come from. We’d definitely be a prime example to do something like that.”