The White House delivered a strong message of opposition to Russia’s anti-gay laws Tuesday with the announcement of its delegation to the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics.
The White House delegation will include an openly gay athlete: tennis great Billie Jean King.
It will not include the president, first lady or the vice president, all who headed the previous four Olympic delegations, or a cabinet secretary, only a former one. This marks the first Olympics since the 2000 Sydney Summer Games that a U.S. president, vice president, first lady or former president has not been a member of the delegation for the opening ceremony, which will be Feb. 7 in Sochi.
A statement from the White House said President Obama’s schedule doesn’t allow him to travel to Sochi. “President Obama is extremely proud of our U.S. athletes and looks forward to cheering them on from Washington,” the statement said. “He knows they will showcase to the world the best of America — diversity, determination and teamwork.”
The delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States,” the statement said.