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SBD/December 18, 2013/Olympics
President Obama Won't Attend Sochi Games, Selects Two Gay Athletes For U.S. Delegation
Published December 18, 2013
SETTING THE RIGHT TONE: USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes Obama's selection of King for the official U.S. delegation "is a stroke of genius." It is the "perfect call for an extraordinary international situation" (USA TODAY, 12/18). ABC's Jon Karl said Obama sending America's "most prominent openly gay athlete" to Sochi sends a "clear message" to the Russian government. King "made it clear immediately that she intends to use this post to make a statement about gay rights in Russia and beyond" ("GMA," ABC, 12/18). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote Russia President Vladimir Putin "clearly can buy a lot," but in this case he "can't buy the approval of the United States, at least on this particular human rights issue." This is the "proper tone, the high road in a dispute where the United States clearly holds the progressive and modern position of inclusion and acceptance." It also is a "proxy public-relations battle, which Olympic sports have long been used for." Wetzel: "What better 'propaganda' is there for the acceptance and respect of homosexuals than by showcasing successful, powerful and uplifting gay athletes -- with the full and complete support of the White House behind them?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/17).
BUY AMERICAN, BUILD AMERICA? ABC's David Muir examined the controversy about the Chinese-made USOC mittens that are for sale and said, "Obviously, there's nothing wrong with selling mittens to raise money for our American athletes. But why not help American workers at the same time?" This comes less than two years after the Ralph Lauren uniforms the U.S. team wore at the '12 London Games Opening Ceremony were discovered to have been made in China. Muir: "Why would the Olympic Committee ignore the labels again?" A USOC spokesperson stated that the organization "wanted to create a fundraising opportunity where almost anyone could support Team USA." That is why the mittens only cost $14. But Muir rhetorically asked if China was the "only place that can make a $14 pair of mittens" ("World News," ABC, 12/17).