Will Billie Jean King Provide Sochi’s “John Carlos Moment”?

How It Works
Dec. 17 2013 6:37 PM

America’s Sochi Delegation: No Obamas, No Bidens, No Cabinet Officials

129231549
Tennis legend Billie Jean King arrives for the state dinner in honour of South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and his wife, Kim Yoon-Ok, on Oct. 13, 2011, at the White House.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The Obama administration may not be completely boycotting the Sochi Olympics, but a day after France announced that its senior officials are skipping the games, the just-announced U.S. delegation for the Opening Ceremony is distinctly low-profile.

BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner reports that former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will be leading the delegation, along with Rob Nabors, the assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for policy, and Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.* Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will attend the Closing Ceremony.

Advertisement

In other words, no Obama or Biden family members, no Clintons or Bushes, no John Kerry, no internationally recognized political figures.

Former tennis star Billie Jean King and figure skater Brian Boitano will also be in attendance. King, of course, is openly gay and an outspoken LGBT activist. Discussing the upcoming Sochi Games in light of Russia’s recent anti-gay laws, she recently told USA Today, "Sometimes I think we need a John Carlos moment," referring to the sprinter who gave a black power salute on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. "I think there's watershed moments, benchmarks, I would hope the majority of the athletes would speak out. It's a great platform. … I wish I was 21 again and in the Olympics."

At 70 years old, King will now be “in” the Olympics with the platform she mentioned. It should be an interesting Opening Ceremony.

*Correction, Dec. 18, 2013: This post originally misspelled BuzzFeed.

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.