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)

Recent Headlines

1 hour ago in Entertainment, Sports

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, wrongly convicted of murder, dead

Fresh
hurrican

The boxer's imprisonment, and battle to free him, are immortalized in the Bob Dylan song "Hurricane" and the film of the same name, starring Denzel Washington.

Friday in Sports

Sportscaster Craig Sager battling leukaemia

craig

The longtime sideline reporter is in the fight of his life.

Friday in National

Making headlines this week

AP52048984409_2

A look at the week's top newsmakers and the stories you may have missed.

Friday in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

blackhawks

A complete look at this weekend's sports schedule.

Friday in Sports

Friday’s Sports Minute

stanleycup

Blues and Avs work overtime, Wainwright beats error-prone Nats, and more.