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 Viral Videos

Robin Williams musical tribute: ‘Seize the Day’

24-overlay5

Robin Williams' best films are remixed and set to music in this awesome Melodysheep tribute.

in Music

Motley Crue and country come together in ‘Outlaws’

motley

Country artists, including Florida Georgia Line, Rascal Flatts, and LeAnn Rimes are covering the rock 'n' roll band.

in Viral Videos

Foo Fighters spoof ‘Carrie’ for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

21-overlay6

Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters put the most creative spin on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yet! We'll never see "Carrie" the same way again.

in Music

Buddy Holly country tribute features song he never recorded

holly

Merle Haggard, T. Graham Brown and Jimmy Fortune are among the stars who have covered Holly for new album.

in Music

Trisha Yearwood to release long-awaited album

trishayearwood

The "There Goes My Baby" hitmaker announced her 12th studio record, "PrizeFighter," will be released this autumn.