Billie Jean King to miss Winter Olympics opening cerenomy

An athlete trains during Snowboard Slopestyle practice at the Extreme Park at Rosa Khutor Mountain ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 3, 2014
© Getty Images
Former tennis player Billie Jean King will not be attending Friday's opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics in Russia because of her mother's ill health.

Thirty-nine-time Grand Slam winner Billie Jean King will not be attending Friday's opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics in Russia because of her mother's ill health.

King, who was selected to help lead the US delegation to the Games, also planned to attend ice hockey and figure skating events and meet athletes during her three-day visit to the games.

"It is important for me to be with my mother and my brother at this difficult time," the 70-year-old former tennis player said in a statement. "I want to thank President Obama for including me in this historic mission, and I look forward to supporting our athletes as they compete in Sochi."

Two-time Olympic ice hockey medallist Caitlin Cahow, originally scheduled for the closing ceremony, is to replace King in the US opening ceremony delegation.

Great Britain's Billy Morgan competes in the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle qualification at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 6, 2014
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