President Barack Obama on Friday said
that sending gay athletes to the Winter Olympics sends a message of
“There is no doubt we wanted to make
it very clear that we do not abide by discrimination in anything,
including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Obama
told NBC's Bob Costas.
The president picked three openly gay
athletes as part of the 10-person delegation representing the United
States at the Sochi Games.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King this
week said she would not attend Friday's opening ceremonies because
her 91-year-old mother is ill.
The other two athletes are hockey
player Caitlin Cahow and figure skater Brian Boitano.
King has been an outspoken critic of
Russia's law prohibiting “gay propaganda” to minors.
Last month, King applauded Obama's
decision to include gay athletes in the delegation, saying it conveys
a powerful message to Russia.
“When we step off the plane we are
part of America,” King said during an appearance on NBC's
“We are what an America looks like. So I think President Obama
has done an amazing job on promoting diversity and inclusion. He has
been the all-time president for doing that. And he's showing the
Russians, 'Listen everybody belongs in the United States of