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Obama: Sochi group shows US doesn't discriminate

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Obama: Sochi group shows US doesn't discriminate
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FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2010 file photo, former Olympian Brian Boitano smiles in the stands during the men's singles competition at the U.S. figure skating championships in Spokane, Wash. Two days after being named to the U.S. delegation for Sochi, Boitano has announced he is gay. But the 1988 gold medalist says Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in a statement that "being gay is just one part of who I am. ... I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations." (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the delegation he's sending to Russia for the Winter Olympics shows the United States doesn't make distinctions on the basis of sexual orientation.

Russia has come under fierce criticism for passing national laws banning ''gay propaganda.''

Obama's group heading to Sochi includes openly gay athletes Brian Boitano, Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow. He says the delegation ''speaks for itself,'' and they are world-class athletes who happen to be gay.

The Sochi Games are the first since 2000 to which the U.S. is not sending a president, former president, first lady or vice president.

Obama says it would be tough for him to attend the games himself next year with all that's going on in Washington. But he predicted he will attend again after his presidency.

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