Obama and Putin's Testy Relationship

Obama sends gay delegation to Sochi Olympics to bug Putin.

ByABC News
December 18, 2013, 10:40 AM
President Barack Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 Summit, in this June 18, 2012 photo in Los Cabos, Mexico.
President Barack Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 Summit, in this June 18, 2012 photo in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

Dec. 18, 2013— -- intro: It was the latest jab between two of the world's most powerful leaders with President Obama announcing this week that he would not attend the 2014 Olympics in Russia and would send, instead, openly gay U.S. athletes.

Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have gone tit-for-tat in public for months as the two countries have tried to negotiate many of the world's most difficult challenges: chemical weapons in Syria, the leaking of NSA security information by Edward Snowden, and human rights abuses around the world.

Take a look at the tension between these two leaders, and the ways they've tried to one-up one another in front of the world:

quicklist:title: Obama Sends Gay Delegation to Sochi Olympicstext: President Obama announced this week that he would send openly gay tennis star Billie Jean King and hockey player Caitlin Cahow as part of the U.S. delegation to the Sochi Olympics, a thumb to the nose to Putin's anti-gay policies.

With the announcement, the White House acknowledged that Obama would not attend the games, nor would anyone from his administration.

The Russian daily newspaper Ria Novosti called Obama's decision not to attend a "snub."media:

quicklist:title: Putin Writes New York Times Op-Ed Scolding Obamatext: In the aftermath of a deal between Russia and the United States over chemical weapons in Syria, Putin wrote a scolding op-ed in the New York Times.

"I would rather disagree with a case (Obama) made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States' policy is 'what makes America different. It's what makes us exceptional.' It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal," Putin wrote.media:

quicklist:title: Putin Offers NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Asylum, Obama Says He Won't Talk to Putin in Moscowtext: As the United States launched a manhunt to try and find Edward Snowden, who stole troves of data and information from the NSA and then leaked it to journalists this summer, Russia offered Snowden temporary asylum.

In retaliation, the U.S. canceled planned talks in Moscow in August.

"Given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society in the last 12 months, we have informed the Russian government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda," the White House said this summer. "Russia's disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship."media:

quicklist:title: Putin Says He Doesn't Care What Obama Thinks About Him, Obama Says Putin Looks Like a "Bored Kid"text: Obama said in August that he didn't have a strained relationship with Putin, but that Putin does sometimes look "like a bored kid in the back of the classroom," during policy discussions.

A few months later, Putin shot back.

"President Obama hasn't been elected by the American people in order to be pleasant to Russia," Putin said in an interview with the Associated Press, "And your humble servant hasn't been elected by the people of Russia to be pleasant to someone, either."media:

quicklist:title: U.S. Passes Law Punishing Russia for Human Rights Violations, Russia Bans American Parents from Adoptingtext: In April, the U.S. banned some two dozen Russian officials from traveling to the United States because of alleged human rights violations. The Russian government said it, too, would make a banned list, but it also retaliated in another way: banning American parents from adopting Russian children.