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Sochi 2014

Billie Jean King to attend Olympics’ closing ceremony in Sochi

Saturday, February 15, 2014
AP (File)Billie Jean King stands with her mother, Betty Moffitt, center, and partner Ilana Kloss, left, during the dedication ceremony for the USTA National Tennis Center, re-named in King's honor, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York in 200.

AP (File)
Billie Jean King stands with her mother, Betty Moffitt, center, and partner Ilana Kloss, left, during the dedication ceremony for the USTA National Tennis Center, re-named in King’s honor, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York in 2006.

WASHINGTON — Billie Jean King will attend the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics in Russia.

King, who couldn’t attend the opening of the Sochi Games because of her mother’s illnes, will join American speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden on Feb. 23 as part of President Barack Obama’s official U.S. delegation.

King called it a “privilege” to attend.

“I will use this trip to honor the memory of my mother and to further my mission of equality,” King said in a statement to The Associated Press. “I am thankful to President Obama for including me and I look forward to supporting the men and women of Team USA in Sochi.”

Russia has been widely criticized for passing a national law last year that banned gay “propaganda” to minors.

King and two other openly gay athletes – Brian Boitano and Caitlin Cahow – were selected for the delegation at the opening ceremony. Obama said it showed the U.S. doesn’t make distinctions based on sexual orientation.

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Cahow, a member of the U.S. women’s hockey team that won the bronze at the 2006 Turin Olympics and silver at the 2010 Vancouver Games, said she’s experienced no backlash in Russia, adding that everyone has been “unbelievable welcoming.”

The White House said Friday the closing ceremony delegation will be headed by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and includes Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia. The delegation will attend athletic competitions and meet with U.S. athletes.

Blair won five Olympic gold medals and a bronze in speed skating, and Eric Heiden earned five Olympic golds.

King was selected in December to help lead the delegation. Two days before Feb. 7 opening ceremony in Sochi, King announced she wouldn’t attend because of her mother’s failing health.

Betty Moffitt, 91, died at her home in Arizona on the day of the opening ceremony, with King and brother Randy Moffitt at her side.

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17 more reader comments:

  1. please stop sharing the olympics news. they are so corrupt, you are just fueling their fire.

    Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 7:28pm
  2. Grow UP, William.

    Replied on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 8:34pm
  3. thats it? grow up? take a trip to tibet or the ukraine and see what is going on over there and we'l see if you say the same thing.

    Replied on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 8:35pm
  4. Yes, grow up. Maybe some of us are interested William Miller. Just because you are not doesn't mean the news should not be available to the rest of us. You sound like those right wing freaks who think their religious views should be imposed on everyone else.

    Replied on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 8:40pm
  5. And you sound like the typical sheeple who bury their head in the sand when their is a real issue, but you don't care as long as you have you tv shows, McDonalds, and cheap gas. Doing nothing is the same as helping them do it.

    Replied on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 8:42pm
  6. How exactly is not supporting a corrupt organization like imposing religious beliefs?

    Replied on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 8:45pm
  7. As if suppressing a story about Billie Jean King going to the Olympics going to help the plight of LGBT Russians? #whackjob

    Replied on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 9:57pm
  8. Wasn't talking about Billie Jean, was talking about the Olympics as a whole, just happened to post on this picture.

    Replied on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 9:58pm
  9. is she in the middle?

    Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 7:28pm
  10. William Short, I believe she is on the right.

    Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 7:39pm
  11. good for billie

    Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 7:44pm
  12. Yes she is on the right.
    RIP Mrs. Betty Moffitt.

    Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 8:07pm
  13. Its all comes from your minds,Gays,cure f Gays,R K L

    Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 8:18pm
  14. Boycott Russia and the Olympics.

    Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 8:53pm
  15. unless she is going to protest then she is wasting her and our time.

    Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 10:36pm
  16. She is on the right can’t belive some don’t know what and who she is get educated people

    Posted on Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 12:49am
  17. Haven’t watched the Olympics at all, Russia can go and get stuffed, from Australia !

    Posted on Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 2:15am