Billie Jean King Will Be Absent at Sochi OpeningBy: Kimberly Ripley - February 5, 2014
Billie Jean King won’t be at the Olympics opening in Sochi this week, but it has nothing to do with her sexual orientation. She won’t attend the opening because her 91-year-old mother is ill.
King, who is openly gay, was selected by President Obama to lead the U.S. delegation. She has been extremely outspoken about the anti-gay law in Russia. Family comes first, however, and the former tennis great is spending time in Arizona, along with her brother, Randy Moffitt–a former pitcher for the New York Giants–tending to to their mom, Betty Moffitt.
Billie Jean King said in an interview with The Associated Press that due to her mother’s “failing health, I will not be able to join the U.S. Presidential delegation at this week’s opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics.”
”It is important for me to be with my mother and my brother at this difficult time. I want to thank President Obama for including me in this historic mission and I look forward to supporting our athletes as they compete in Sochi,” King said.
Billie Jean King wants to see some changes made to the protections in the charter of the International Olympic Committee. When she was told that Russia passed a new law in June, “banning gay propaganda” to minors, she was outraged.
”It should be a non-issue,” she said. “It’s just like people of color in our country and other places, it has to be a non-issue.”
President Obama has voiced his dislike of Russia’s anti-gay law, too. This will be the first Olympics since 2000 where a president, former president, vice president or first lady hasn’t been in attendance. Hopefully the absence will speak volumes.
Billie Jean King would have made a bold statement about Russia’s anti-gay law had she been able to attend the Olympic opening ceremonies in Sochi this week. She will no doubt find a way to continue voicing her support for LGBT athletes whether she is there or not. A trailblazer in the tennis world, she will no doubt one day be known for the trails she blazes for LGBT people around the world as well.
Image via YouTube