Brian Boitano is finally out and proud! the Olympic figure skating gold medalist came out as gay on Thursday, Dec. 19 in a statement.
"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," Boitano, 50, said in his statement released to Us Weekly.
The announcement makes Boitano the third openly gay athlete named by President Obama to the official, 10-person, U.S. delegation to the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The former champ joins tennis legend Billie Jean King and women's ice hockey payer Caitlin Cahow in representing America's LGBT community overseas during the sporting event. It is assumed that Obama is sending a symbolic message of protest to host country Russia; He told Jay Leno back in August that he had "no patience" for its controversial, anti-gay propaganda law.
"It is my desire to be defined by my achievements and my contributions," said Boitano, who has competed in three different Olympics (1984, 1988, 1994). "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."
"First and foremost I am an American athlete and I am proud to live in a country that encourages diversity, openness and tolerance," he expressed. "As an athlete, I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations."
70-year-old King's significance following her athletic career is a story of activism: She was the first female professional athlete to announce she was gay back in 1981. Cahow, meanwhile, is a two-time Olympic hockey medalist. Other delegates appointed to the U.S. Olympic committee includes former Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano and former speedskater Bonnie Blair.
President Obama, meanwhile, will not attend the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and neither will wife Michelle Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden. His decision mimics that of other world leaders including German President Joachim Gauck and French counterpart Francois Hollande.