News

Billie Jean King unable to attend Sochi opening ceremonies

Billie Jean King unable to attend Sochi opening ceremonies

NOT GOING TO SOCHI: King was one of three openly gay American athletes named to the U.S. delegation, along with skating champion Brian Boitano and ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow. Photo: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former American tennis star Billie Jean King will be unable to join the official U.S. delegation attending the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremonies due to a serious illness in her family, the White House said on Wednesday.

King was one of three openly gay American athletes named to the U.S. delegation, along with skating champion Brian Boitano and ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow. Their selection was intended to send a message against Russia’s anti-gay laws.

“The president extends his thoughts and prayers to Ms. King and her family in this difficult time,” the White House said.

SPECIAL SECTION: 2014 Winter Olympics

A statement from King said she is unable to attend because of her mother’s failing health.

“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,” she said.

The White House said Cahow, originally named as a member of the delegation in the closing ceremonies, will instead serve in King’s place as a member of the delegation for the opening ceremonies.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

Latest Stories

in National, World

CDC: Ebola cases could hit 1.4M by early next year

Fresh
ebola

Between 550,000 and 1.4 million people in West Africa could be infected with the virus by 2015, according to a report issued on Tuesday.

in Music

You can drive in Slayer style

Fresh
slayer

The new Slayer-mobile from automaker Scion is so stacked with features you may never actually drive it.

in National

Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in prison

Fresh
binladensoninlaw

A son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison following his conviction on terrorism charges.