Obamas will skip Sochi, send LGBT athletes instead

Billie Jean King in 2011 (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Billie Jean King in 2011 (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. President Obama sent a message today to Russian Vladimir Putin.

In an implicit response to Russia’s crackdown on its LGBT community and the country’s blatant disregard of human rights, as well as the two countries’ foreign policy disputes,  Obama, his wife and Vice President Joe Biden will not attend the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Instead, the U.S. delegation will include veteran gay athletes Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow.

“One thing I’m really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which i think would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes were seeing there,” Obama said. “And if Russia doesn’t have gay or lesbian athletes, it’ll probably make their team weaker.”

King is a former tennis champion and Olympic coach. Cahow is a two-time Olympic women’s ice hockey player.

King said she was “proud to stand with the members of the LGBT community in support of all athletes who will be competing in Sochi … I hope these Olympic Games will indeed be a watershed moment for the universal acceptance of all people.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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