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Billie Jean King to attend Sochi closing ceremony

Former tennis pro Billie Jean King didn’t travel to the opening ceremony because of her mother’s death.

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Former tennis pro Billie Jean King didn’t travel to the opening ceremony because of her mother’s death.

WASHINGTON — Billie Jean King will attend the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics in Russia.

King, who didn't travel to the opening ceremony because of her mother's death, will join American speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden on Feb. 23 as part of President Barack Obama's official U.S. delegation.

King called it a "privilege" to attend. "I will use this trip to honor the memory of my mother and to further my mission of equality," she said in a statement to the Associated Press.

Russia has been widely criticized for passing a national law last year that banned gay "propaganda" to minors.

King and two other openly gay athletes — Brian Boitano and Caitlin Cahow — were selected for the delegation at the opening ceremony. Obama said it showed the United States doesn't make distinctions based on sexual orientation.

The White House said Friday the closing ceremony delegation will be headed by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

Billie Jean King to attend Sochi closing ceremony 02/15/14 [Last modified: Saturday, February 15, 2014 10:58pm]

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