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

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

beatles

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable moments.

in Music

This week’s top country tracks

floridageorgia

LISTEN: This week's top country tracks, according to the latest Billboard chart.

in Music

Taylor Swift ‘Shakes Off’ country image

taylorswift

The "Shake It Off" singer fought with her record label to ditch her country girl image and become a pop star.

in Entertainment

TLC cancels ‘Honey Boo Boo’

honeybooboo

The hit reality TV show is off the air after allegations family matriarch Mama June is dating a convicted sex offender.

in Entertainment

Christian Bale to play Steve Jobs in new biopic

bale

The "Dark Knight" star will portray the late Apple Computer co-founder.