President Barack Obama announced today that UC President Janet Napolitano will lead the U.S. delegation at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“I look forward to being in Sochi to support our Olympic athletes and celebrate their accomplishments,” Napolitano said in a press release. “It is an honor to represent our country in the company of individuals who have excelled in life and sport.”
The announced delegation will be the first since the 2000 Summer Olympic Games to not include the president, vice president or first lady. Other heads of states who will not attend include French President Francois Hollande and German President Joachim Gauck.
The U.S. delegation includes notable government officials, like U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, as well as high-profile athletes such as former tennis player and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Billie Jean King and ice hockey player Caitlin Cahow. Some sources, like the Washington Post, attribute King and Cahow’s participation in the delegation – both openly gay athletes – as opposition to Russia’s anti-gay laws.
This will be Napolitano’s second time leading a delegation at an Olympic Games, the first being at the closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada.
The opening ceremony will take place Feb. 7.