Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday, December 18, 2013
U.S. delegation to Russian Olympics includes gay athletes
The United States’ delegation to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia won’t include a member of President Barack Obama’s family or an active Cabinet secretary, but it will include openly gay athletes – a clear jab at Russia’s recent anti-gay laws.
Billie Jean King, the tennis legend, will join figure skater Brian Boitano at the games’ opening ceremonies on February 7, the White House said Tuesday.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, White House aide Rob Nabors and the U.S. ambassador to Russia will round out the delegation to the Sochi games.
King was one of the first professional athletes to come out as gay in the 1980s.
Two weeks later, a group led by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns will attend the closing ceremony. Speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden, as well as openly gay hockey player Caitlin Cahow, will also attend.
“In the selection of this delegation, we are sending the message that the United States is a diverse place,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday, pointing to Napolitano, a former Cabinet secretary, as evidence of the delegation’s distinction.
It’s the first time in more than a decade the President, vice president, first lady or former president hasn’t attended an Olympic opening or closing ceremony. First lady Michelle Obama led the delegation to 2012’s Summer Olympics in London, and President George W. Bush made the trek to China for Beijing’s games in 2008. (Source: CNN)