1988 Olympic figure skating gold medalist Brian Boitano, who has been named to the official US delegation to the Sochi Olympics, has announced that he is gay. Boitano had previously refused to discuss his sexual orientation or private life when speaking with the media.
In a statement released this morning, 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.
President Obama’s delegation to the opening ceremony of the upcoming Olympics also includes openly gay athlete and tennis legend Billie Jean King, and ice hockey Olympic medalist Caitlin Cahow, who will attend the closing ceremony.