By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

BOSTON (CBS) – The White House is making as much news with who it’s sending to the Winter Olympics in Russia than who it’s not sending.

Many gay rights activists called on the United States to boycott the games in Sochi next year over Russia’s new policy banning so-called “gay propaganda.”

Like we did with the Soviets in 1980. And we know how well that went.

This time there will be no boycott. Team USA will compete. But President Obama will be watching them on TV. So will the First Lady. And the Vice President for that matter. They’re all staying home.

First time that has happened since the Sydney games in 2000. There won’t even be a cabinet member in the stands.

Big snub.

But there will be a U.S. delegation. And that’s where this gets interesting.

Because the group will include two openly gay American athletes, including tennis legend Billie Jean King – reminding us that the Olympics has long been a stage for political and social statements, going back to Jessie Owens in Germany in 1936.

The Human Rights Campaign was quick to welcome the news which would not have come if the U.S. chose to boycott the games – suggesting the U.S. is making a much more powerful statement by going this way than not going at all.

Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz



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