Billie Jean King won't attend Sochi opening

NEW YORK — Billie Jean King will not attend Friday's opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics in Russia because her mother is ill.

King, who was selected to help lead the U.S. delegation to the Games, has been outspoken in her opposition to Russia's anti-gay law. She also planned to attend ice hockey and figure skating events and meet U.S. athletes.

The White House announced Wednesday that former U.S. hockey player Caitlin Cahow, originally scheduled for the closing ceremony, will take King's place.

King told the Associated Press that because of her mother's "failing health, I will not be able to join the U.S. Presidential delegation at this week's opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics."

Betty Moffitt, her 91-year-old mother, lives in Arizona. King will be joined by her brother Randy Moffitt, a former pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.

"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."

The openly gay former tennis star was chosen in December for the U.S. delegation, along with openly gay former Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano and Cahow.

King

King

No yogurt for athletes

The Russian government is said to be blocking a shipment of Chobani yogurt from reaching the U.S. Olympic team at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Obama administration has intervened, seeking to clear the way for the yogurt delivery. U.S. officials are hoping to receive a special dispensation from the Russian agency Rosselkhoznadzor — the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance — whose jurisdiction apparently includes American-made Greek yogurt.

New York Times

Billie Jean King won't attend Sochi opening 02/05/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 11:04pm]

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