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Pussy Riot-themed board by Russian snowboarder Alexey Sobolev seen as a possible protest (Photo)

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Social rights have become a major talking point at the Winter Games in Sochi and one Russian snowboarder decided to make his own statement.

Alexey Sobolev took part in the slopestyle qualifying on Thursday and as he waited for his scores, he turned the top of his snowboard to camera. The illustration on his board was that of a knife-wielding woman in a black ski mask. It’s the same outfit worn by the feminist rock group Pussy Riot, whose members were jailed after a show an impromptu show in a Moscow cathedral last year.

Here’s the translation of the tweet: “Wow, Russian (!) snowboarder Alexei Sobolev coming to Sochi with a Pussy Riot-board.”

Russian media asked Sobolev whether his board was meant to be a protest statement and he danced around the question.

"Anything is possible,” he said. “I wasn’t the person who designed the board.”

On Feb. 21, 2012, Pussy Riot entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and performed a song attacking Russian President Vladimir Putin and his ties with the Orthodox Church. The group was immediately halted and arrested. Two members of the group were only recently released in December.

Yahoo’s Martin Rogers did an in-depth piece on Pussy Riot and what their protests mean to the country and how they potentially threaten – at least in Russia’s eyes - the Winter Games.

While Sobolev’s protest was the first documented during the games, it probably won’t be the last with the Opening Ceremonies set for Friday.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

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