Brian Boitano comes out as gay ahead of Sochi Olympics in Russia
Another gay man will be traveling to the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia as part of the official U.S. delegation. Brian Boitano, who won the 1988 Olympic figure skating gold medal, announced the news two days after President Barack Obama named him a member of the delegation.
"I am many things: a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend, an athlete, a cook, an author, and being gay is just one part of who I am," he says in a statement. "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."
The announcement is particularly significant this year due to Russia's much-criticized anti-gay law. The country made the public discussion or display of gay rights in front of minors illegal under threat of steep fines, which has led to many instances of anti-gay physical attacks.
Boitano's coming out is just the latest instance of the United States delegation flouting Russian President Vladimir Putin's law. Also on the delegation is openly gay tennis player Billie Jean King, who says of being chosen for the honor thats he has "always reserved my private life for my family and friends and will continue to do so."
Meanwhile two-time United States ice hockey Olympic medalist Caitlin Cahow was named to the closing ceremony delegation, and she is also gay.