By Nick Butler

Caitlin Cahow, pictured during her ice hockey days, has been appointed an advisor on sport by President Obama ©AFP/Getty ImagesCaitlin Cahow, the former ice hockey player who was one of three openly gay figures leading the United States delegation at the Winter Olympics in Sochi earlier this year, has been appointed a White House advisor on sport by President Barack Obama.

Cahow, who will serve as a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, is one of 12 individuals nominated to various administrative positions.

Following the announcement, Obama described being "honoured that these talented individuals have decided to join this Administration and serve our country" and added he is "looking forward to working with them in the months and years to come".

The appointment of Cahow is particularly interesting due to the controversy raised by the role she served at Sochi 2014.

The 29-year-old, who had announced she was gay a month before being chosen last December, headed the US delegation with another gay former athlete in tennis player Billie Jean King, who is also on the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Calgary 1988 Olympic figure skating gold medallist Brian Boitano, another member of the delegation, also came out as gay soon after being announced. 

The inclusion of the trio was interpreted as a direct snub to the Russian authorities following the anti-gay rights legislation introduced into the Russian Parliament in June last year.

Neither Obama, wife Michelle or vice-president Joe Biden attended the Games. 

Caitlin Cahow led the US team at Sochi 2014 which was honoured afterwards at a special ceremony in the White House ©Getty ImagesCaitlin Cahow led the US team at Sochi 2014 which was honoured afterwards at a special ceremony in the White House ©Getty Images

Before announcing her retirement in 2013, Cahow was a long-standing member of the US ice hockey team, and formed part of the squad that won a bronze medal at Turin 2006 and a silver medal four years later in Vancouver.

She combined her sporting career with an academic one and graduated from Harvard University in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in social and biological anthropology, before embarking on a second degree at Boston Law School.

Under her watch in Sochi, the US team won a total of nine gold, seven silver and 12 bronze medals to finish in fourth place on the medals table, behind only Russia, Norway and Canada.

The US medal haul included a silver for some of Cahow's former team mates in the US women's ice hockey squad, where the team lost 3-2 in overtime to Canada in a thrilling final clash.

The US team also won the first gold medal of the Games in any sport, courtesy of slopestyle snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg.

The Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition aims "to engage, educate, and empower all Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition".

It is co-chaired by Drew Brees, the 2009 Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and winning American football quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, and the Atlanta 1996 artistic gymnastics champion Dominique Dawes.

Also included is the four-time Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Alyson Felix, and the most decorated figure skater in US history, five-time world champion Michelle Kwan.