Billie Jean King, who was nominated by President Obama to lead the U.S. Presidential Delegation to the opening ceremony of the Olympics, is not going to be in attendance in Sochi, Russia. Her decision to stay in the States was because her mother has become very ill recently.
“With my mother in failing health, I will not be able to join the U.S. Presidential Delegation at this week’s opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics,” King said in a statement released by her press agent. “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.”
It was clear that if she was able to attend, King would definitely be in Russia supporting the United States athletes; but now she’ll just have to do it from home.
King had planned to walk in the opening ceremony, attend ice hockey and figure skating events and meet U.S. athletes during her three-day visit to the Games. The former tennis star said when she was chosen that she would like sexual orientation added to the list of protections in the IOC charter.
“Maybe we’ll help the LGBT community in Russia. I hope there will be a connection for them and help them not feel alone and disenfranchised,” King said. “Personally, I hope it helps the movement take another step forward so people will realize we’re just like everybody else. It should be a non-issue. It’s just like people of color in our country and other places. It has to be a non-issue.”