SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Of the many criticisms dogging the Sochi Olympics, (aside from the actual dogs), one of the sharpest surrounded Russia's questionable human rights record.
So when Russian slopestyler Alexei Sobolev rides a snowboard decorated with a drawing of a knife-wielding, balaclava-clad woman, he's not just showing off some interesting art.
Sobolev refused to say if he was protesting the treatment of the band Pussy Riot, several members of whom were arrested in February 2012 for performing a "punk prayer" inside a Moscow church.
"Anything is possible,” he said. “I wasn’t the person who designed the board.”
Two members of the group were released in December under Russia's new "amnesty law" a move by President Vladimir Putin widely seen as an attempt to burnish Russia's image ahead of the Games.
The host nation has also been roundly criticized for its new anti-LGBT laws, as well as apparent disorganization ahead of Friday's Olympic kickoff.
[Los Angeles Times]