President Barack Obama announced on Friday that Billie Jean King, who had to skip the opening ceremony in Sochi due to her mother’s illness, will be in the presidential delegation to the closing ceremony of the Sochi Games on February 23. She will be joined by four others. Obama made headlines by including King, along with other gay athletes, in the delegation to the opening ceremony in what was widely regarded as a rebuke to Russia’s anti-gay laws.
King’s mother died on February 7, which was when the opening ceremony was held.
According to the White House, the delegation will include:
The Honorable William J. Burns, Deputy Secretary of State
The Honorable Michael A. McFaul, United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation.
The Honorable Billie Jean King, Member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Ms. Bonnie Blair, five-time Olympic gold medalist and one-time bronze medalist, speed skating.
Dr. Eric Heiden, five-time Olympic gold medalist, speed skating.