Figure skater Brian Boitano comes out as gay in advance of trip to Sochi

Fri. December 20, 2013 8:17 AM by Wisconsin Gazette

brian boitano on the cover of si after winning gold

photo credit // sports illustrated
Make that three openly gay athletes in the U.S. Olympic delegation to Russia. On Dec. 19, figure skater Brian Boitano identified as gay in a statement to the press.

Boitano, earlier in the week, was named a member of the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

In the statement, Boitano said, "I am currently skating in Europe but want to provide a statement regarding my appointment to the Olympic delegation. I have been fortunate to represent the United States of America in three different Olympics, and now I am honored to be part of the presidential delegation to the Olympics in Sochi. It has been my experience from competing around the world and in Russia that Olympic athletes can come together in friendship, peace and mutual respect regardless of their individual country's practices.

"It is my desire to be defined by my achievements and my contributions. While I am proud to play a public role in representing the American Olympic Delegation as a former Olympic athlete, I have always reserved my private life for my family and friends and will continue to do so. I am many things: a son, a brother, and uncle, a friend, an athlete, a cook, an author, and being gay is just one part of who I am. 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."

Boitano will join out lesbian athletes Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow as part of the delegation to the Winter Olympics. Other members of the U.S. delegation include U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and presidential adviser Rob Nabors. The delegation will be led by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The president will not be attending. Neither will the first lady or the vice president.

Russia has come under fierce criticism for passing national laws banning "gay propaganda." Though the White House did not specifically address the Russian laws in making its announcement, spokesman Shin Inouye said the delegation "represents the diversity that is the United States" and that the president "knows they will showcase to the world the best of America — diversity, determination and teamwork."

Article provided in partnership with Wisconsin Gazette.