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

The World
How It Works
Dec. 17 2013 6:37 PM

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

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.

Joshua Keating Joshua Keating

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

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.


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.



The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer


Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.


Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.