Feb 16 2014, 8:23pm CST | by Poch de la Rosa
Laura Smith-Spark of CNN confirmed this in her Feb. 15 report:
"King, a 2009 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor, was initially named as part of the opening ceremony delegation but had to pull out because her mother was ill.
"Russia has faced widespread criticism over its position on gay rights since passing an anti-gay propaganda law last year, which bans anyone from speaking positively about homosexuality in the hearing of children.
"President Barack Obama also named Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul to the delegation, as well as former gold medal Olympians Bonnie Blair and Eric Heider, a White House statement said.
"The delegates will watch some events and meet U.S. athletes as well as attend the final ceremony."
For her part, King told The Associated Press she is honored to be part of the delegation and also said she will use it as a means to honor her late mother and as a platform for equal rights.
"I will use this trip to honor the memory of my mother and to further my mission of equality. I am thankful to President Obama for including me and I look forward to supporting the men and women of Team USA in Sochi."
She earlier explained to The Associated Press on Feb. 5 that she had to beg off from attending the opening ceremony on Feb. 7 so she can be with her ailing 91-year-old mother, Betty Moffitt.
"It is important for me to be with my mother and my brother at this diffiicult 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."
Moffitt passed away on the day of the opening ceremony in Arizona.
Figure skater Brian Boitano and hockey player Caitlin Cahow were also part of the U.S. delegation for the opening ceremony in Sochi. The latter was appreciative of the ambience in Russia, saying the people were "unbelievably welcoming," per The Associated Press.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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