Tennis legend and lesbian icon Billie Jean King will not attend the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony in Russia due to her mother’s failing health.
“It is important for me to be with my mother and my brother at this difficult time,”she tells the AP. “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 was appointed to the U.S. delegation in December, along with openly gay ice skater Brian Boitano, in what was seen as a special message sent by President Obama to Russian President Vladmir Putin over the country’s controversial “gay propaganda” laws.
Here is the updated U.S. delegation per a White House press release:
Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
The Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russian Federation will be held on February 7, 2014.
The delegation will attend athletic events, meet with U.S. athletes, and attend the Opening Ceremony.
The Honorable Janet A. Napolitano, President of the University of California, will lead the delegation.
The Honorable Michael A. McFaul, United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation.
The Honorable Robert L. Nabors, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy.
Mr. Brian A. Boitano, Olympic gold medalist, figure skating.
Ms. Caitlin Cahow, Olympic silver and bronze medalist, women’s ice hockey.