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Sochi 2014

Obama: Sending openly gay athletes to Sochi was a ‘very clear’ message

Friday, February 7, 2014

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Thursday that he had included openly gay athletes in the U.S. Olympic delegation to send a message to Russia that the U.S. would not conform to discrimination in sports or anywhere else.

Barack-Obama“There is no doubt we wanted to make it very clear that we do not abide by discrimination in anything, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Obama said in an interview with NBC News.

“One of the wonderful things about the Olympics is that you are judged by your merit, how good you are regardless of where you come from, what you look like, who you love and that I think is consistent with the spirit of the Olympics,” said Obama.

The remarks come of the eve of the opening ceremonies in Sochi, and just hours after senior Russian officials again warned athletes and spectators from promoting gay rights while in Russia.

Obama selected openly gay figure skater Brian Boitano and women’s hockey player Caitlin Cahow for the U.S. delegation attending Friday’s opening of the game. Tennis legend and gay rights activist Billie Jean King was also scheduled to attend, but pulled out because her mother is ill.

The full interview is at NBC News.

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Filed under: National Headlines, Olympics

46 more reader comments:

  1. its not enough

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:32pm
  2. like this

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:33pm
  3. & the LGBT community is proud to be the “middle finger” for America

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:33pm
  4. Good!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:35pm
  5. Yup he’s like FU Russia.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:36pm
  6. An indication of cowardice we should not be there

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:37pm
  7. theyre going because theyre the best in the country. not because theyre gay. someone wasnt sitting there asking who is openly gay, lets send them as a big fu to russia. and its insulting to think someone is trying to make it into something its not. a clear message would have been boycotting the olympics.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:37pm
  8. Have you seen the so called Olympics so far? It’s a cluster fuck. No one attending… stray dogs… LOL.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:39pm
  9. Cheers Mr. President.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:39pm
  10. He should have the balls to go to the opening ceremonies with the athletes hes putting on the chopping block…

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:40pm
  11. He Can't Run Again, It's Called Term Limits

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:03pm
  12. I hope he’s sending them with the tightest 24/7 security.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:43pm
  13. Thumbs up :)

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:46pm
  14. Full support from gay and straight allies in Australia – Go for gold.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:47pm
  15. Kudos!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:47pm
  16. They can participate regardless… It’s in the charter.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:47pm
  17. Seemed a bit passive aggressive to me, we ought to have taken a stronger stance.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:51pm
  18. I am praying for their safety

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:51pm
  19. I will admit, I am upset that Obama did not keep some of this promises over these past two election. But I am still happy his is my Pres. and if I could go back in time I would still vote for him again. Both terms. Peace-Love-Obama

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:53pm
  20. really?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:55pm
  21. I just hope nothing bad happens to them…

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:56pm
  22. OK first and for most the president has no control over who goes to the Olympics. There is an oversight board in place that has judged and agreed upon who goes. Not the US president. Get your facts straight first.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:57pm
  23. Uhh ... the president i"m sure has quite a bit of involvement

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 2:59pm
  24. And then maybe not?

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:01pm
  25. This is the Olympic delegation to represent us at the opening ceremonies, not the athletes who are competing.

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:12pm
  26. The message wd have been more clear if we had just boycotted the games!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:00pm
  27. Um he doesn’t have the power that you might think Dougie Michael Rhoads.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:06pm
  28. I hope he gets going on a national non-discrimination law right away. After all, he is saying that we act this way, and we all know this isn’t true. I applaud him doing what he has, and proudly, as an American, ask for more: we need protection from discrimination in all of our laws in the entire country right now. Make it so, Mr. President.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:09pm
  29. YEAH BAYBE!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:19pm
  30. Theres nothing wrong with communism, if it is applied correctly.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:25pm
  31. ┌∩┐(◣_◢)┌∩┐ ☪b☭ma

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:28pm
  32. That’s not a very coherent response.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:35pm
  33. They Obama wants them to get murdered and beaten

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:40pm
  34. Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:47pm
  35. The gay laws are the least of our worries. the Russians cannot be trusted as 4 gay right activists were just recently arrested. We should have boycotted the Olympics to make our stand against inequality…I am more worried bout the fucking terrorists

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 3:56pm
  36. Well for one, Hitler was a Fascist, he hated Communism. In fact, during the holocaust the communists had it as bad as the Jews. The idea of communism is that everyone is treated equally, regardless of whom they are or what they do. Communism has been used incorrectly by dictators such as Stalin,,Putin etc. And really, their idea of communism is like extreme capitalism: The wealth is held by those in power and the rest of the nation is poor. That is not communism. And yeah, sure. Lets go back to the days of the Bush administration, where gay marriage was illegal and if you were of arabic descent you feared for your life. Your ignorance is astounding.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:07pm
  37. ^This soooo much! Thank you! Ali! Compared to Bush and others..Obama is not half bad. He has his flaws, but definitely is trying to get more equality for us than any other president.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:10pm
  38. How disgusting. A little girl? It’s telling that this is your response to someone who clearly understands politics and economics much better than you.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:15pm
  39. He is not destroying this country I’ll give YOU a pass on your stifling ignorance. Obama making the moves he makes for us is more than a crumb, it’s what we desrve! Get off that care plan shit. Most of the people who bitch about it, won’t even be effected by it. They just WANT something to nag about. It’s 2014 and it’s time for people to be treated equally!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:16pm
  40. Still don’t like him though.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:40pm
  41. Calling something communist, then claiming it only benefits the rich is an oxymoron. Communism is in favor of the poor when applied correctly. Please do not refer to me as “a little girl”. I study Law in university and keep tabs on both American and European politics in my spare time. You have no right to lecture me when you didn’t even know that Hitler was a Fascist, which is pretty much the opposite of a communist.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:42pm
  42. You don’t even know what the principles of communism and socialism are. They are the equal distribution of wealth and rights within a country. Obama is a good leader. He has his faults, but in comparison to Bush, who was racist, homophobic and spent trillions on an un necessary war because “It was what God wanted”. Please learn some politics and history before stating unfounded and ignorant opinions on matters you do not comprehend.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:46pm
  43. I’m pretty sure that second definition was added after communism became a weapon of greed by dictators. But yes the first definition is true. Basically the equal sharing of property and wealth. The only problem with the true, original definition of communism is that it goes against human nature. People need to have a sense of ownership. But like I said, communism is not bad if applied correctly

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:52pm
  44. yes, wonderful representatives..yes they are the best in the country, but being gay is double good for representing the usa

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:53pm
  45. Either way, Obama is not a Communist, he is simply tempering capitalism. Which is not such a bad idea. I can tell you, if Mitt Romney was in power the LGBTQ community would be much worse off, as would the poor of the US. Although the Economy might be in slightly better shape.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:54pm
  46. Why didn’t Obama go?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:00pm