President Obama Will Not Attend 2014 Winter Olympics - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

President Obama Will Not Attend 2014 Winter Olympics

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(CBS) - President Obama will not be attending the winter Olympics in Russia, nor will any top U.S. officials.

The White House announced the American Delegation will include openly gay athletes, which some say is a message to Moscow, in response to Russia's anti-gay laws.

The Winter Olympics in Russia are less than two months away, and for the first time in 14 years, a current or former president, vice president or first lady won't join the U.S. team at the games.

Instead, Former Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano will lead the US delegation. Two openly gay athletes, tennis star Billie Jean King, and ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow will be part of the group.

The White House says the delegation represents the diversity that is the United States. Some see the selection as a response to Russia's anti-gay laws.

"I think it's meant to send a very clear cut signal of U.S. disapproval," said Susan Glasser, Author of Kremlin Rising.

The Russian government has faced international criticism since it passed a series of anti-gay laws. President Obama stopped short of calling for an Olympic boycott.

"One of the things I'm looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold, or silver, or bronze which I thing would go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes that we're seeing here," said Glasser.

President Obama canceled a September meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russia granted asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

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