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Billie Jean King to attend Sochi closing ceremony

WASHINGTON (AP) — She wasn't able to attend the Olympic opening ceremony in Russia as part of the official U.S. delegation because of the death of her mother. But now, Billie Jean King will be representing the United States at the closing ceremony next week.

She says it's a "privilege" -- and that she'll use the trip to honor her mother's memory, while also furthering what she calls her "mission of equality."

Russia has been widely criticized for passing a law last year banning gay "propaganda" to minors. King was one of three openly gay athletes who were selected for the U.S. delegation at the opening ceremony. President Barack Obama said it showed the U.S. doesn't make distinctions based on sexual orientation.

One of the other gay athletes chosen to go to the opening ceremony, Caitlin Cahow, says she experienced no backlash in Russia, and that everyone was "unbelievable welcoming."

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APPHOTO NY150: FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2013, file photo, Billie Jean King reflects about her match against Bobby Riggs in 1973 as she stands in front of a display at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. King, who couldn't attend the opening of the Sochi Olympic Games because of her mother's death, will attend the closing ceremony with American speed skaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden on Feb. 23 as part of President Barack Obama's official U.S. delegation. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File) (5 Sep 2013)

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