Gold Medalist Brian Boitano Comes Out Before Sochi Olympics
Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano, who was chosen as an official U.S. delegate for the 2014 Sochi Olympics by President Barack Obama, confirmed on Thursday that he is gay -- just a few months before the Games, USA Today reports.
"I am many things: a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend, an athlete, a cook, an author, and being gay is just one part of who I am," Boitano said in a statement. "First and foremost I am an American athlete and I am proud to live in a country that encourages diversity, openness and tolerance. As an athlete, I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations."
Earlier this week Obama named him, along with other out athletes like Billie Jean King, to be a delegate for the U.S. during the Olympics’ opening ceremony.
Though gay rumors have surrounded Boitano, who won a gold medal in the 1998 Olympics, he’s never officially come out. USA Today notes that the 50-year-old athlete refused to discuss his sexuality in a 1995 interview for the book "Inside Edge."
Boitano said he’s proud to have been chosen to represent the U.S. delegation as a former Olympic athlete, but said he’s "always reserved my private life for my family and friends and will continue to do so."
Caitlin Cahow, a two-time U.S. ice hockey Olympic medalist, is also openly gay and will be joining Boitano and King for the opening ceremony delegation.
Obama’s choice to send openly gay athletes to the Games sent a clear message to Russia and President Vladimir Putin and the country’s treatment of LGBT people. Obama’s move marks the first time since 2000 that the U.S. will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Olympics.
Boitano received a second level of fame in the "South Park" film "South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut" with the musical number, "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" seen below: