Tags: caitlin cahow | sochi | olympics | delegation

Caitlin Cahow 'Elated' to Be in Sochi Olympics Delegation

By Michael Mullins   |   Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 12:25 PM

Caitlin Cahow, a two-time Olympic medalist for the United States women's national ice hockey team, discussed her role in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games delegation in an interview with NBC News' Matt Lauer on Thursday.

"I was elated. I was thrilled," Cahow said, telling Lauer that she was notified with a call from a member of the White House.

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Cahow is one of two openly gay members of the four-person delegation. The other is tennis great Billie Jean King. The four were selected to represent the president at the Sochi Winter Olympics, which begins Feb. 7.

The selection of Cahow and King is seen by many as a not-so-subtle message from President Barack Obama's administration to Russia, opposing the nation's anti-gay laws. The gay propaganda law can impose fines and imprisonment upon those who stage gay pride rallies or events.

When asked if she thought her selection for the delegation was due to the fact that she came out as a lesbian earlier this year, the 28-year-old Olympic medalist said she couldn't say what the election committee's motivation was for selecting her.

"Honestly, Matt, I think the president has been very open about his feelings about Russian policy, he has been very open about LBGT policies here at home," Cahow said. "I'm going over to Sochi representing a country that has made the most dramatic solicit on some of these issues in the last few years. I am very proud to be representing that kind of diversity."

Lauer pressed the issue further, asking Cahow, "Let me just ask a blunt question. ... Do you think you would have been chosen if you were not gay?"

"I can't speak to that. I wasn't on the selection committee," Cahow responded. "I think there are a lot of issues that I stand for that I'm looking to support our athletes with when I'm in Sochi, but the reality is right now that I've been selected and I'm going to do my best to support our athletes."

In an interview with The Associated Press earlier in the week, King said she was "deeply honored" to be named to the delegation.

"I am equally proud to stand with the members of the LGBT community in support of all athletes who will be competing in Sochi and I hope these Olympic Games will indeed be a watershed moment for the universal acceptance of all people," King said.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will also be part of the delegation, which includes U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, figure skater Brian Boitano, and presidential adviser Rob Nabors.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said gay athletes will be welcome at the games.

"We are doing everything, both the organizers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race, or sexual orientation," Putin told RIA Novosti.

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