Brian Boitano Announces He's Gay Ahead Of Sochi Winter Games

Former Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano announced he's gay, making him the third openly gay athlete in the U.S. delegation to the 2014 Games.
Posted at 6:33 PM, Dec 19, 2013

Former Olympic figure skating gold medalist Brian Boitano announced Thursday he's gay, making him the third openly gay athlete in the U.S. delegation to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. 

The skater-turned-cook said in a statement, "I am many things ... and being gay is just one part of who I am." He continued, "As an athlete, I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations." (Via USA Today)

Boitano's announcement comes just two days after he was named a member of the U.S. delegation to the games along with former tennis star Billie Jean King and ice hockey player Caitlin Cahow — both of whom are gay. (Via CNN)

Boitano's announcement is a pretty big deal considering the criticism Russia has received for its crackdown on so-called gay propaganda, which has led authorities to arrest citizens for public displays of homosexuality. (Via Sky News)

President Obama said Tuesday he would not be attending the games — and neither will First Lady Michelle Obama or Vice President Joe Biden — amid tense U.S.-Russia relations. This will be the first time since 2000 neither a sitting president, vice president nor a first lady will head up the U.S. delegation to the Olympic Games. (Via The White House)

The timing of Boitano's revelation seems intentional, but KNTV reports it almost didn't happen. 

The 50-year-old skating star told a KNTV reporter by phone he felt compelled to come out after being chosen for the presidential delegation. Had he not been selected, the announcement wouldn't have happened. 

Boitano won the gold medal for figure skating at the U.S. at the 1988 Olympics and briefly had a cooking show on the Food Network called "What Would Brian Boitano Make?" not to be confused with the hit song "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" by the kids from South Park. (Via International Olympic Committee, Chow)

"What would Brian Boitano do if he was here right now? He'd make a plan and follow through, that's what Brian Boitano would do." (Via Paramount Pictures / "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut")

The opening ceremony for the Sochi Winter Games is set to begin Feb. 7.