Two days after being named a member of the preseidential delegation to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, figure skating champion Brian Boitano announced he is gay.
Boitano, the 1988 men’s singles gold medalist, becomes the third openly gay member of the U.S. delegation, joining Olympic tennis great Billie Jean King and two-time Olympic hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow.
Their presence and the absence of all top U.S. elected officials, including President Obama and the First Lady, has been widely seen as a protest against Russia’s anti-gay legislation.
In a statement sent Thursday by his publicist, Boitano said:
``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.’’
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