Caitlin Cahow, the silver medal-winning hockey player, is one of the openly gay athletes whom President Obama selected as part of the presidential delegation to the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.
The other gay representative named for the delegation is tennis legend Billie Jean King. Joining them will be former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, and Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Nabors.
Ambassador McFaul said: “There will be a presidential delegation, which means that there will be no boycotts whatsoever from our government. Other countries have their own approaches, but the U.S. will send its official presidential delegation.”
The Obama administration’s decision to send gay reps with the delegation is obviously a message to Russia that their recent anti-gay propaganda doesn’t sit well with the President.
Leaders of France and Germany went a step further and announced that they would not be sending a delegation to the games in direct opposition to Russia’s attitude to gays.
Michael Cole-Schwartz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, said: “It’s a positive sign to see openly gay representatives 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.”
Billie Jean King also weighed in with her comments on the honor of being selected by President Obama:
“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.”
It remains to be seen what Russia’s attitude to gay athletes taking part in the Winter Olympics will be. Many remain skeptical, following comments made by various officials in the Russian government.