Billie Jean King Chosen For US Olympic Delegation

Billie Jean King was chosen by President Barack Obama for the official US delegation to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. The 70-year-old Hall of Fame tennis star received 12 Grand Slam singles titles throughout her career.

King is one of at least two openly gay athletes included in the US delegation. Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano is also included in the list.

President Obama’s decision is described as strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who opposes LGBT lifestyles. Putin has strongly defended his personal beliefs and federal policies against gays.

USA Today reports that Billie Jean King was honored to be chosen for the delegation:

“I am equally proud to stand with the members of the LGBT community in support of all athletes who will be competing in Sochi and I hope these Olympic Games will indeed be a watershed moment for the universal acceptance of all people.”

As reported by the Miami Herald, Whitehouse spokesman Shin Inouye said the representatives underline “the diversity that is the United States.” He also pointed out that Obama expects the delegation “will showcase to the world the best of America — diversity, determination, and teamwork.”

The US delegation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony will include:

  • University of California President, Janet A. Napolitano
  • US Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Michael A. McFaul
  • Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, Robert L. Nabors
  • Member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King
  • Olympic gold medalist, figure skating, Brian A. Boitano

    The US delegation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games closing ceremony will include:

    • Deputy Secretary of State, William J. Burns
    • US Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Michael A. McFaul
    • Five-time Olympic gold medalist and one-time bronze medalist, speed skating, Bonnie Blair
    • Olympic silver medalist and bronze medalist, women’s ice hockey, Caitlin Cahow
    • Five-time Olympic gold medalist, speed skating, Dr. Eric Heiden

    For the first time in 20 years, the delegation will not include members of the Presidential cabinet. President Obama has not discussed his choices for the delegation. However, he was urged by several human rights organizations to consider openly gay athletes, including Billie Jean King.