Friday, December 20, 2013

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Brian Boitano, Olympic Figure Skater, Comes Out As Gay

Brian Boitano is a former Olympic figure skater who won the 1988 Gold medal in Men's Figure Saking and was named this week by President Obama to a delegation to the Winter  Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The Sochi Olympics are becoming a media controversy because they are being held in a notoriously homophobic country so it was notable that the American delegation did not include any high-ranking elected or appointed officials but did include two openly LGBT individuals: tennis great Billie Jean King  and hockey player Caitlin Cahow.

Boitano, 50, was also named to the Sochi delegation and although his sexuality had long been gossiped about, Boitano made it official that he is a gay man by releasing this statement:
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.
So, now there are three openly gay members of the delegation to the Sochi Olympics. This should get interesting!

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