President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama are not on the planned White House delegation to the Sochi Olympics announced Tuesday.
Yet the list is noteworthy because it includes openly gay athletes: retired tennis legend Billie Jean King and two-time Olympic hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow.
Their presence in Sochi will be notable given Russia’s law banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors enacted last spring.
A White House statement said President Obama’s schedule doesn’t allow him to travel to Sochi and that the delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States,” according to reports.
King is on the delegation to attend the Opening Ceremony. Cahow is on the delegation for the Closing Ceremony. The delegations attend athletic events and meet with U.S. athletes.
“Honored to represent USA in Sochi and I hope these Olympics will be a watershed moment for the universal acceptance of all people,” was posted on King’s Twitter account Tuesday.
“Incredibly humbled and honored to be representing my country with this remarkable group,” was posted on Cahow’s Facebook account.
Also on the list are five-time Olympic champion speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden (Closing Ceremony) and 1988 Olympic figure skating champion Brian Boitano (Opening Ceremony).
The last time a delegation did not include a U.S. president, vice president, first lady or a former president was in Sydney in 2000.
“President Obama is extremely proud of our U.S. athletes and looks forward to cheering them on from Washington,” the White House said in a statement. “He knows they will showcase to the world the best of America — diversity, determination and teamwork.”
Camel carries Olympic flame during Sochi torch relay
NBC Olympics and Fandango partnered for Fandango’s “I Love Movies: Rio Olympic Edition,” featuring swimming gold medalists Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Matt Grevers, among other Olympians and Paralympians.
Leading up to the Rio Games, NBC Olympics and Fandango plan to release episodes with dozens of athletes from gymnastics, track and field, diving, basketball rugby and Paralympic events.
Watch Lochte’s short film above and Franklin and Grevers reveal their favorite movies below.
Lochte, Franklin and Grevers will look to qualify for the Rio Olympics at the Olympic Trials in Omaha from June 26-July 3, with broadcast coverage on NBC Sports.
MORE: Full NBC Olympic trials broadcast schedule
Critics of professional boxers potentially being allowed in the Olympics (more likely in full for 2020 than 2016 at this point) have mostly cited a disadvantage for inexperienced, less talented amateur fighters at the Games.
Mike Tyson also reportedly called the idea to integrate pro boxers into the Games “foolish” and “ridiculous” on Wednesday, but for a very different reason.
“Some of the pro fighters are gonna get beat by the amateurs,” Tyson said while in China, according to Sky Sports. “If they are like the amateur fighters that I was fighting in the ’80s, like [three-time Cuban Olympic heavyweight champion Teófilo] Stevenson [who Tyson never fought] and those guys, and all those guys were fighting with the Russians and the Cubans, they are gonna beat some of the champions.”
Tyson never boxed in the Olympics but attempted to make the 1984 Olympic team at age 17.
He lost to eventual gold medalist Henry Tillman at the Olympic Trials after reportedly meeting Evander Holyfield for the first time at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Both Russia and Cuba boycotted the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics.
MORE: Pacquiao: I need to ask Filipino people about Olympics