Many prominent United States snow sport Olympians are skipping the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) official visit to the White House on Friday. Among those 2018 Winter Olympic athletes choosing not to attend are skier Lindsey Vonn, gold medal snowboarder Chloe Kim, snowboarder Arielle Gold and freeskiers Gus Kenworthy and (halfpipe gold medalist) David Wise.
“Rather than going there and shaking hands and feigning kindness, I’d rather let it be known that I don’t agree with that,” Kenworthy told Sports Illustrated in July.
Other noteworthy absentees included figure skater Adam Rippon, luger and U.S. flag bearer Erin Hamlin and cross-country skier Jessie Diggins.
Rippon and Kenworthy are both openly gay, which conflicts with actions by the Trump administration, including Vice President Mike Pence’s time as a U.S. House member and Governor of Indiana. Rippon also told USA Today he has a “convenient out” because of an upcoming appearing on “Dancing with the Stars” and being one of the headliners on the “Stars on Ice” skating tour with a Friday night show in Pittsburgh.
“What’s remarkable is the number of athletes who have spoken out about not visiting the White House,” former USOC spokesman Mike Moran (who attended every White House visit from 1980-2002), told USA Today.
Athletes Jesse Diggins, David Wise, Arielle Gold and a couple others chose to attend a session on Capitol Hill on Wednesday instead. They joined the Protect Our Winters (POW) contingent to discuss climate change, an issue the Trump administration has chosen not to focus on, with Congress.
These Winter Olympians have a message for Congress: Climate change is hurting our sports. @jessdiggs, @mrDavidWise, @arielletgold, @Maddie_Phaneuf & @staceycookusa are about to start their briefing to Congress, and we'll be live tweeting! #OlympiansOnTheHill pic.twitter.com/K5nxlPVGc5
— CitizensClimateLobby (@citizensclimate) April 25, 2018
But there were still many who chose to stay united as the U.S. team and attend the White House visit. The likes of Red Gerard and Kyle Mack are both in attendance, as well as many other U.S. Olympians and medal winners.
These winter Olympians are not the first athletes to decline visits to the White House with the Trump administration, as the Golden State Warriors invitation was pulled after Steph Curry said he would not attend and several Philadelphia Eagles players deciding whether or not to attend after winning the Super Bowl earlier this year.
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