WASHINGTON — The United States will not be sending any of its top officials — either President or Mrs. Obama or Vice President or Dr. Biden — to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as part of its delegation to the games.
A former federal official, Janet Napolitano, will instead be leading the U.S. delegation, the White House announced Tuesday, and two out LGBT athletes — Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow — will be a part of the delegation as well.
In addition to the Obamas and Bidens not attending the Olympics, no current cabinet members will be a part of the country’s delegation either.
“The U.S. Delegation to the Olympic Games represents the diversity that is the United States,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told BuzzFeed. “All our delegation members are distinguished by their accomplishments in government service, civic activism, and sports. We are proud of each and every one of them and think they will serve as great ambassadors of the United States to the Olympic Games.”
On the other hand, can it really be considered a snub to deprive a country of Joe Biden to thoroughly grope their womenfolk at formal events?
Enjoy Janet Napolitano, Russia! Tennis star Billie Jean King, who is openly gay, will attend the ceremonies— likely a reference to and critique of Putin’s recent crackdown on gay Russians.
Obama’s delegation to the closing ceremonies in Sochi will include speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden, along with women’s ice hockey star Caitlin Cahow.
The presence of the openly gay King on Feb. 7 in Sochi is likely a direct slam on Russia’s anti-homosexuality laws; but Dmitry Chernyshenko, who leads Russia’s Olympic organizing committee, has said there will be no repercussions against athletes who wear rainbow pins or show other small-scale disdain for the government policy.