Obama to Snub Sochi Opening Ceremonies

by Patrick Brennan

America’s first gay president won’t be attending the Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and neither will anyone else notable from the White House. Former Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano and Rob Nabors, the White House’s deputy chief of staff for policy, will be heading the delegation, which normally would include the president, vice president, a former president, or the first lady (the last time it didn’t was the 2000 games in Sydney). A number of gay American athletes will also attend, including tennis player Billie Jean King. The pedestrian delegation is thus being seen as a protest of Russia’s recently passed laws restricting the civil liberties of gay citizens — though one might note there is plenty else to protest about the behavior of the Russian government, besides.

France and Germany’s heads of state will not be attending the Opening Ceremonies either.