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Brian Boitano announces he’s gay after being named to Sochi delegation

Dec 19, 2013, 1:03 PM EDT

Brian Boitano Getty Images

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.

U.S. Olympic Team roster so far

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.

Video: Cahow discusses being on Sochi delegation

  1. sw19womble - Dec 19, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    I thought he’d already come out – but I guess, like he says, he feels it’s just part of who he is and he never felt like he wanted or had to make a big thing about it.

    Good luck to him anyway – and hopefully this will be standard in the future…. not hiding it, like it’s a big deal – but more like someone not “having” to declare they’re left-handed, and so forth.

    • it's all bs - Dec 19, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      Oh wow good for him….I always loved him….he was such a professional and a beautiful and talented skater…..who didn’t enjoy watching him on the ice…you go Brian:)

  2. ksingleton101 - Dec 19, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Why is this news?

    • mikeevergreen - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      Because the Russian government, along with the rot-wing voters that put it in place, are bigots.

  3. dman6015 - Dec 19, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Does the phrase, “No, duh”, apply here?

  4. gvgranny - Dec 19, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Shocked — because I thought we all knew this ages ago. I guess I’ll just be glad for the day when it doesn’t really matter what someone’s sexual orientation is. He’s an awesome, talented guy. That’s all I need to know.

    • greenmtnboy31 - Dec 24, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      Why does it matter what someone’s sexual orientation is and why does the gay community continue to feel the need to tell us they are gay? Who cares. Keep it to yourself.

  5. billym67 - Dec 19, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Wow, this is shocking news…..who would have ever guessed?

  6. warrenlevine - Dec 19, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Um, what’s Greg Louganis waiting for? A personal invitation?

    • mikeevergreen - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      He’s a Summer Olympian. He’ll be in Rio, trying to avoid being kidnapped for ransom.

    • eprobono - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:25 PM

      If you’re referring to GL “coming out”, then you should know that he has been out for year. You should crawl out from under that rock more often.

      If you’re referring to GL serving in the delegation, then MikeEverGreen’s reply is part of the answer, but representing the US at the Olympics is not something one applies for, it is something for which one is chosen.

    • johnouk1 - Dec 19, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      Louganis has been openly gay for ever. That’s no secret. The fact that anyone is surprised by Boitano’s announcement is even more shocking to me !!!

  7. spartanacus - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    In other news…Earth is still round.

  8. gaysportsfan - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    “First and foremost I am an American athlete and I am proud to live in a country that encourages diversity, openness and tolerance.”

    Wait, I thought he said he was an American? Where’s this country that encourages ‘diversity, openness, and tolerance”?

    • scooby24210 - Feb 11, 2014 at 3:44 PM

      You don’t consider the U.S.A. a place of diversity, openness and tolerance?

      Yes there are people, even regions of the country where homosexuality isn’t accepted. That’s also true for people of different races, people with disabilities, etc. Some just don’t get it & certain views are ingrained into their culture. Not saying it’s right, just how it is & it takes generations to change.

      I’m a person with a disability & live in the Bible Belt &I know from experience these attitudes exist. I also know, as a whole, friends, neighbors & people in my area & across the country ARE tolerant. I’ve lived on my own since college, worked & lived a normal life. Some still think a person with a disability can’t do things for themselves. It’s a small fraction that I pay no attention to. Like with any situation, some will always disagree, think negatively of you, etc.

      I agree with others who say Boitano being gay is no surprise. What is key here is the timing of his announcement. To openly share his sexual orientation prior to the Olympics in a country with laws against it is significant.I wish Billie Jean King had been able to attend but sadly, her mother was ill & passed away just as the Olympics began.

      Greg Louganis has been “out” for years. I tried to find the year he came out but couldn’t find it specifically. I know he didn’t come out as soon as he found out he was HIV positive, 6 months prior to the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He got a lot of criticism for not revealing it after he hit his head & bled into the pool but the doctor(s) advising him were correct. No one was in danger, there was little blood & so much chlorine the virus couldn’t live, much less be transferred. No one who competed with him in Seoul has been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

      What we do in our private lives, as long as it doesn’t hurt or infringe on anyone else’s rights, is no one else’s business. I’m glad Louganis, Boitano & anyone else, whether a public figure or average person, is able to ‘come out’ & feels comfortable being who they truly are. Boitano, fortunately, made the decision when he felt it was appropriate. Louganis didn’t have that choice once his diagnosis was revealed.

  9. edcenter114 - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    What would Brian Boitano do? Well, now we know…

  10. IndependentThinkin - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    And in other news, the sky is blue. Seriously?

  11. Marty Silvert - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Somehow the term “male figure skater” and “homosexual” usually mean the same.

  12. eprobono - Dec 19, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Brian Boitano was my neighbor in SF several years ago. He was always careful to keep his personal and professional lives separated during the time we were neighbors.

    In his day-to-day life he was open about his sexuality. I’m happy to hear he has taken this step to merge his public and private personas.

  13. phillyphannnn83 - Dec 19, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    This gets filed under “um, duh!” I’m straight and could care less him or anybody else is gay. It’d be nice if the rest of the world felt the same way.

  14. fpstratton - Dec 19, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Now this has got to be some kind of joke. We all knew he was gay a quarter of a century ago.

  15. zerohandicapper - Dec 20, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    “Thats what Brian Boitano’d do!”

  16. doctorrustbelt - Dec 21, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Phil Robertson and his family’s television show is in big trouble.

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