Putin Snubs WH with Pick of Torch Lighter who Tweeted a Racist Picture of Obama

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February 9, 2014 9:31am PST

A controversy has ignited over the Russian torch bearer, Irina Rodnina.

Rodnina tweeted an offensive picture back in September that was targeted at the President and Michelle. Rodnina doctored a picture of the Obamas with a banana in the picture. As Mediate puts it, its hard to see this photo as anything but racist.

Rodnina is a figure skater and is also a member of Putin’s United Russia Party.

Several prominent media outlets have raised the question about whether the decision to have Rodnina light the torch was retaliation to Obama’s decision to send an Olympic delegation that included several openly gay members. Obama has been defiant of the measures Putin has put in place concerning gay rights in Russia.

(Read More: Coulter: Russia’s Putin is Making a “Monkey” Out of Obama)

He told Bob Costas in an interview:

“There is no doubt we wanted to make it very clear that we do not abide by discrimination in anything, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

When asked about the move to make Rodnina the torch lighter for the Olympic games, the head of the Sochi organizing committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko dodged allegations that her participation was intended to send the White House a message:

“I want to stress that the Olympics is not about politics and any political talks and discussions are inappropriate for Olympic Games.”

He also defended her selection:

“She is a three-time Olympic champion, one of the most respected in the world of Olympic athletes.”

(Read More: Romney: Putin Has “Outperformed” Obama)

After the offensive tweet that came during the tensions that arose between the US and Russia over Syria intervention, Rodnina maintained that “Free speech is free speech.” She went on to say that if you take issue, “it’s your problem.”

What do you think? Was this a snub at Obama? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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