Brian Boitano comes out as gay

Sarah Hofmann Contributor
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Figure skater Brian Boitano announced Thursday that he is gay.

He’s never publicly talked about his private life before, but now that he has been named to the U.S. Olympic delegation for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, he decided to come out.

Boitano is now the third openly gay member of the delegation, along with tennis legend Billie Jean King and ice hockey player Caitlin Cahow. Russia’s vocally anti-gay stance has made the Sochi Olympics a natural opportunity for athletes to soapbox about sexual orientation.

“First and foremost I am an American athlete and I am proud to live in a country that encourages diversity, openness and tolerance,” Boitano wrote in a statement. “As an athlete, I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations.”

“Being gay is just one part of who I am,” he then added. Boitano also said he hopes all Olympians will be able to come together regardless of national politics, ESPN reports.

Boitano was named world champion and Olympic champion in 1988, after which he turned pro. He returned to the Olympics in 1994, and has been immortalized in the “South Park” movie with his own theme song, “What Would Brian Boitano Do?”

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