President Obama selected UC President Janet Napolitano to head the United States’ delegation to the 2014 Winter Olympics set to take place in February. After recent acts of terrorism and threats of attacking athletes, focus turned to managing security for the US delegation. Napolitano’s experience at the Department of Homeland Security made her a clear candidate for this position given the unique safety circumstances.
After the two suicide bombings in Volgograd, Russia, and the tension over the nation’s anti-LGBT policies, high security measures became a necessity for the US delegation. Leading this delegation means that Napolitano will help organize and oversee a combination of safety efforts including the FBI, International Olympic Committee security, and State Department security personnel.
The controversy surrounding Russia’s current anti-LGBT policies resulted in some people asking President Obama to boycott the Olympics this year; however, the President decided to send several openly gay athletes in the US delegation, as opposed to withdrawing from the event.
“The delegation represents a variety of things. Clearly having some openly gay athletes is a symbol of the openness of American society and American sport,” Napolitano said. “You have others in the delegation who have participated in a wide variety of civic and public service roles. It’s a really great and diverse delegation. I’m very pleased to be able to lead it.”
Neither the Obamas nor the Bidens will be attending the Olympics in Sochi. This year marks the first time since 2000 that the US doesn’t send a President, Former President, Vice President, or First Lady as a delegation leader.
Napolitano will arrive with the delegation for the opening of the 22nd Winter Olympics in Sochi, however, she is not scheduled to remain in Russia for the remainder of the games.
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