President Obama is sending two openly gay men, Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning and former NBA player Jason Collins, to Rio next week as part of a delegation attending the closing ceremony of the 2016 Summer Games.
From the White House:
President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to attend the Closing Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Federative Republic of Brazil. The Closing Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Federative Republic of Brazil will be held on August 21, 2016.
The delegation will attend athletic events, meet with U.S. athletes, and attend the Closing Ceremony.
Both men expressed their excitement about attending the Games.
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins98) August 12, 2016
— Eric Fanning (@SECARMY) August 12, 2016
Joining Fanning and Collins are Liliana Ayalde, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil; White House advisor Bess Evans; Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee; the EPA’s Gina McCarthy (who will lead the delegation), and Lauren Kelly, social secretary to the First Lady.
In 2012, Obama sent tennis legend Billie Jean King, figure skater Brian Boitano and hockey player Caitiyn Cahow as part of the U.S. delegation to the Sochi Games, sending a message to Russia about the country’s homophobic gay-propaganda ban.