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Billie Jean King Won't Attend Sochi Opening

Updated: Wednesday, February 5 2014, 03:25 PM CST

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.

In June, Russia passed a law banning gay "propaganda" to minors. In an interview with the AP last month, King said: "It should be a non-issue. It's just like people of color in our country and other places, it has to be a non-issue."

President Barack Obama has been publicly critical of the Russian anti-gay law and President Vladimir Putin's "cold-war" mentality on other issues. For the first time since 2000, the U.S. delegation to the Olympics will not include a president, former president, vice president or first lady.

The 70-year-old King, a social justice trailblazer who won 39 Grand Slam titles in her career, was tapped to enter the fray involving the delicate balance of Olympic sports and politics.

Other members of the U.S. delegation for the opening ceremony include former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and presidential adviser Rob Nabors.

The White House statement said "The President extends his thoughts and prayers to Ms. King and her family in this difficult time."

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Billie Jean King Won't Attend Sochi Opening


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Scores & Schedules

November 28, 2014 08:11 GMT

NFL

Thursday's Games

Detroit 34, Chicago 17

Philadelphia 33, Dallas 10

Seattle 19, San Francisco 3

Sunday's Games

Tennessee at Houston, 1 p.m.

Oakland at St. Louis, 1 p.m.

Carolina at Minnesota, 1 p.m.

Washington at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

San Diego at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Giants at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

New Orleans at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

Arizona at Atlanta, 4:05 p.m.

New England at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m.

Denver at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m.

Monday's Game

Miami at N.Y. Jets, 8:30 p.m.

NHL

Thursday's Games

Nashville 1, Edmonton 0, OT

Friday's Games

N.Y. Rangers at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

Chicago at Anaheim, 4 p.m.

N.Y. Islanders at Washington, 5 p.m.

Winnipeg at Boston, 7 p.m.

Montreal at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

Detroit at New Jersey, 7 p.m.

Carolina at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Columbus, 7 p.m.

Ottawa at Florida, 7:30 p.m.

Edmonton at St. Louis, 8 p.m.

Minnesota at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

NBA

Thursday's Games

No games scheduled=

Friday's Games

Chicago at Boston, 1 p.m.

Golden State at Charlotte, 7 p.m.

New Orleans at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.

Dallas at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

Milwaukee at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

New York at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at Houston, 8 p.m.

Orlando at Indiana, 8 p.m.

Sacramento at San Antonio, 8:30 p.m.

Phoenix at Denver, 9 p.m.

Memphis at Portland, 10 p.m.

Minnesota at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m.

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