Billie Jean King will be one of two openly gay athletes in the U.S. delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies at the Sochi Olympics. The announcement came for Barack Obama himself this Tuesday.
However, YouWager experts have learned that for the first time since 2000, the U.S. will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Games.
With this statement Russia gets a clear message from the U.S. in regards to their stance on the gay community. The former World No. 1 professional tennis player was “deeply honored” to be chosen as part of the U.S. delegation for Sochi.
Russia has come under intense criticism for passing national laws banning “gay propaganda.” Even while the White House was not specific about the Russian laws in making its announcement, spokesman Shin Inouye stated the delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States” and that Obama “knows they will showcase to the world the best of America — diversity, determination and teamwork.”
Unfortunately, president Obama’s schedule will not allow for him to attend the Games.
“It’s a positive sign to see openly gay representatives in the delegation,” said Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, which recently sent a letter urging Obama to include gays and lesbians in the delegation. “Hopefully it sends a message to the Russian people and the rest of the world that the United States values the civil and human rights of LGBT people.”
The other openly gay representative to the delegation is hockey player Caitlin Cahow. The 28 year-old will be attending the closing ceremony.