Billie Jean King won't attend Sochi opening

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm •  Published: February 5, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — 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 during her three-day visit to the games.

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 and has been ill for some time. 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 has said she would like sexual orientation added to the list of protections in the charter of the International Olympic Committee. King was chosen in December for the U.S. delegation, along with openly gay former Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano and Cahow.