Dec 19, 2013, 1:03 PM EDT
Olympic figure skating champion Brian Boitano came out in a statement Thursday, two days after being named as part of a White House delegation to the Sochi Olympics that includes two other openly gay athletes.
“Being gay is just one part of who I am,” Boitano said in a statement from his publicist.
Boitano, 50, won the 1988 Olympic figure skating title.
He is on the delegation to Sochi along with openly gay American athletes two-time Olympic hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow and tennis legend Billie Jean King.
Here’s Boitano’s full statement from his publicist:
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.
Also on the delegation are five-time U.S. Olympic champion speedskaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden.
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