President Barack Obama said Friday that the U.S. delegation to the Sochi Olympics “speaks for itself,” pointing out that the members of the group are known for their athletic prowess and strength of character regardless of sexual orientation.
“The fact that we’ve got folks like Billy Jean King or Brian Boitano, who themselves have been world class athletes that everybody acknowledges for their excellence but also for their character, who also happen to be members of the LGBT community, you should take that for what it’s worth,” Obama said in a press conference.
“When it comes to the Olympics and athletic performance, we don’t make distinctions on the basis of sexual orientation,” he continued. “We judge people on how they perform, both on the court and off the court. On the field and off the field. That’s a value that I think is at the heart of not just America but American sports.”
Obama’s selection of delegates has been interpreted as a signal of disapproval of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws. The President and first family do not plan to attend the games.