- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2013

With less than two months before the games begin, the Obama administration on Tuesday revealed the roster of the American delegation to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Attending the opening ceremony on Feb. 7 and meeting with U.S. athletes will be: Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California and former Homeland Security secretary; Russian Ambassador Michael McFaul; White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors; legendary tennis star Billie Jean King, also a member of the president’s Council on Fitness; and gold-medal figure skater Brian Boitano.

The American delegation for the Sochi closing ceremony, slated for Feb. 23, will be comprised of: Deputy Secretary of State William Burns; Mr. McFaul; gold-medal speed skater Bonnie Blair; Caitlin Cahow, a women’s hockey star who captured a silver and bronze medal; and Dr. Eric Heiden, a five-time gold-medal speed skater.

The inclusion of Ms. King, who is gay, is likely to put the issue of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights in Russia in the spotlight.

Administration officials and many others have openly criticized the Russian government’s treatment of gays and lesbians amid intolerance from both Russian leaders and other notable figures in that country.

On Tuesday, Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin was the latest to offer inflammatory anti-gay remarks. He reportedly said he would have gays and lesbians “stuffed alive inside an oven,” according to English translations of his comments to Russian media.

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