Although President Barack Obama will not be attending the Sochi Olympics, he has picked several interesting candidates to send in his place as part of the presidential delegation. The delegation will be headed by former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and will include tennis player and LGBT activist Billie Jean King, and the openly gay hockey player Caitlin Cahow. This will mark the first time since 2000 that the United States has not sent the president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Games.
It appears as though President Obama is sending a clear message to Russia, who currently has extremely strict anti-gay laws. Cahow doesn't seem to mind that she is being sent to make a statement. She actually said that she was elated to be invited to attend. “It’s obviously a statement that’s being made, but I think it’s an incredibly respectful one,” Cahow said.
“Basically, the White House is highlighting Americans who know what it means to have freedoms and liberties under the Constitution. That’s really what we’re representing in Sochi and it’s not at all different from what’s espoused in the spirit of Olympism," Cahow continued. “So I think it’s just a great group of people. I can’t believe I’ve been named one of them because it’s a remarkable roster and I just think that we’re going to represent what the best America can be. Hopefully, it will unify all of Team USA and send a message of love and acceptance to the world.”
King has also communicated her gratification for being named to 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," said King.
Honored to represent USA in Sochi and I hope these Olympics will be a watershed moment for the universal acceptance of all people.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) December 18, 2013
Russia has been under extreme criticism for passing their "gay propaganda" laws, however President Vladimir has announced that gay athletes and spectators will not face discrimination if they choose to attend the Sochi Games in February.
Image via Wikimedia Commons