Boston College Law student Caitlin Cahow was “elated” when she received a call from an unknown number this week—while studying for an exam—and was informed by a member of the White House staff that she had been selected as a delegate at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
“Humbled and proud to represent our country,” she Tweeted, not long after receiving the news.
Cahow, an Olympic silver medalist and bronze medalist in women’s ice hockey, will be at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic games.
The day after being informed about her role at the Olympics celebrations, Cahow, who is openly gay, made an appearance on the TODAY Show with Matt Lauer, and talked about what it means to be chosen to represent the United States, especially in a country that has taken a staunch position against the LGBT community.
“The president has been very open about his feelings [on] Russian policies, and I think he’s been very open about his feelings about LGBT policies here at home, too,’’ Cahow told Lauer. “I’m going over to Sochi representing a country that has made the most dramatic shifts on some of these issues in the last few years, and I’m very proud to be representing that kind of diversity.”
Cahow will be joined by Billie Jean King, an openly-gay Tennis player.
When announcing the members of the delegation for this year’s winter Olympics in Russia, some said President Barack Obama was sending a clear message to President Vladmir Putin that he didn’t agree with his stance on gay rights issues.
In June, Putin passed an anti-gay propaganda law in an effort to promote and restore traditional Russian values.
Not only did Obama pick two openly-gay representatives for the U.S. delegation in Russia, he also announced he would not be attending the opening ceremony, citing a busy schedule. It will be the first time since the 2000 Sydney summer Olympics that a U.S. President, the First Lady, and the Vice President has not been a member of the delegation for the event.
Cahow, a two-time Olympic hockey medalist and former Harvard University student, told USA Today that she hopes her appearance at the Olympics sends a strong message, but also that her role goes beyond just being a gay representative.
“I can’t believe I’ve been named one of them because it’s a remarkable roster and I just think that we’re going to represent what the best America can be. Hopefully, it will unify all of Team USA and send a message of love and acceptance to the world,” she said.
Representatives from the school said they were proud that Cahow was selected for the rare opportunity.
“All of us at Boston College Law School and Boston College are proud of Caitlin for having been chosen as a US delegate for the Winter Olympic Games. She is an outstanding student and person who will represent us well in Sochi,” University Spokesman Jack Dunn said in a statement.
Boston tried several times to reach out to Cahow, but did not receive an immediate reply.
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