Billie Jean King to Miss Sochi Opening Ceremony Due to Mother’s Illness

Billie Jean King and NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg

Billie Jean King and NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg

(February 5, 2014) Due to her 91-year-old mother’s illness, Billie Jean King will not attend Friday’s opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics in Russia.

King who is openly gay, was chosen by President Barack Obama was to help lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympic Games, has spoken against Russia’s anti-gay law.  Former U.S. hockey player Caitlin Cahow 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.”

“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 70-year-old tennis Hall of Famer King, won 39 Grand Slam titles in her career.

“The President extends his thoughts and prayers to Ms. King and her family in this difficult time,” said in a statement from The White House.