Figure Skater Brian Boitano Comes Out as Gay After Appointment to Sochi Delegation

BoitanoOlympic champion figure skater Brian Boitano came out publicly today in a statement released by his publicist:

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.

Boitano now becomes the third openly gay member of the Sochi delegation, which also includes tennis icon Billie Jean King and women's ice hockey silver medalist Caitlin Cahow.

And add Boitano to THIS LIST.

Comments

  1. says

    Nice. But, with all due respect, being gay is no more or less a part for him than for anyone else. Your being gay is as much a part of being a son, an uncle, a brother, an athlete, as anything else.

    It’s not really “just one part” of us – it *is* us, and that’s OK. There’s not “a part” of you that’s gay, and a part that isn’t. It’s who we are. And we don’t need to compartmentalize it.

  2. will says

    I’m having the same reaction as I did when Michael Stipe came out: didn’t he already come out before? In a way, Brian Boitano coming out was like Clay Aiken coming out. You get déjà vu thinking its already happened.

  3. Sam says

    As uneventful as Johnny Weir announcing he is of Russian descent, especially for all figure skating fans who have follow Boitano’s skating career when he capture Olympic gold. And now the same fans will patiently wait for another gold medal Olympian skater to come out after a long recovery and turning as professional skater.

  4. Rafael says

    I’m sure Brian will get to appreciate the freedom not being “private” about his personal life will afford him. Congratulations to him and all the best going forward.

  5. I wont grow up says

    Wow what a surprise, why the next thing you know they’ll be telling us the sky is blue. Come on, everyone knew this guy was as gay as a chenille bedspread.

  6. says

    The point of being publicly out isn’t to surprise people but to acknowledge a core part of yourself. So, no, it’s hardly a shocker, but why should it be? Coming out is still a positive thing, however obvious it may be to most people.

    Being gay, though, contrary to what Brian says, really isn’t your “private life,” unless you’re closeted or ashamed. It’s an essential piece of who you are. Your private life is who you’re dating, having sex with, what you like to do in bed etc. No one is expecting him to announce those things. Going to Sochi without being publicly out would have been cowardly.

  7. RonCharles says

    Congratulations, Brian Boitano, and well done! though he has not exactly been closeted, and everyone has known he is gay, it is still a good thing that he has made this public announcement before going to the Sochi Olympics in Russia. It shows that he is not attempting in any way to hide who he is.

  8. Matteo says

    Ah…I thought he was already out. Always thought he was gay or maybe I am confusing my figure skaters. Regardless, hope they open up doors for Russian glbt.

  9. MIke says

    It must have been hard for him as I clearly remember him addressing a caller on the Larry King Show who identified as gay and an object of ridicule because he was a figure skater way back when Brian had received a gold medal.

  10. Paul R says

    I too thought that he’d been out for quite a while. My brother has known he was gay for years, because he and my ex used to talk about it, and my brother isn’t exactly a huge fan of figure skating. (I know even less.)

  11. andrew says

    Well said Brian and thank you for accepting the President’s appointment to the Official American Delegation to the Sochi Olympics. Your presence in Russia, as an out gay man, will give Russian LGBT people additional support in their struggle against their government’s and many of their fellow Russians homophobia.

  12. Bigun says

    Gurlina please……
    B. Boitaino is the queen of Polk Street Bottoms in San Francisco….everybody’s knows that. LOL
    How can you come out when everyone knows you are gay? Come on…
    Maybe it is a PR stunt to sell a new cookbook or xmas holiday skate show?
    Yawn……..Next?

  13. TampaZeke says

    “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.”

    Of these many things that he is, how many of them did he hide from the world or refuse to talk about? How many of these things did he consider “private”? As far as I can tell, just ONE.

    He doesn’t even cut muster on his own self-righteous terms.

  14. BobN says

    Yeah, except that it’s impossible to live in the public eye and not have the fact “exposed” unless you engage in active deception and avoidance.

    So, thanks for “coming out”, but it’s really a shame you felt the need to hide all this time.

  15. says

    Let’s give this guy some credit. That was a pretty classy statement, and he’s choosing to come out publicly at a time when coming out actually has some broader implications.

    Brian, if you’re reading, of course we’re happy for you. This site is known for its snark, so don’t take anything too personally. 😉

    Is it too much to dream that Janet Napolitano will follow suit?

  16. Bill says

    I hardly think it had been necessary for Brian Boitano to have held a press conference to announce his sexual orientation given that straight skaters generally don’t hold press conferences to announce that they have a girlfriend or are getting married.

    I suspect his recent statement was purely due to the circumstances – going to Russia at a time when the announcement might actually help people unfortunate enough to be living there given the current level of repression.

  17. Gigi says

    I guess I should be used to all of the snide remarks by now but…I’m not. We all come out on our own timeline. Some of us reach the finish line [or the starting line, depending on how you look at it] at different times in our lives. I’m happy that Brian finally felt comfortable enough to come out. Coming out is still very important. Don’t forget that.

  18. j.martindale says

    A bit of a tepid support for gay people, considering the reason he was selected for this honor was a show of disgust for Russia’s hateful anti-gay legislation. The man is a successful athlete first and foremost? Goodie for him.

  19. Homo Genius says

    Ok… I am not one of those people who think “coming out” is a journey, personal decision, is hard, takes courage etc etc.

    What I thought when reading this, if he had not been put on that delegation, would he still be “privately” gay while trying to maintain a public ambiguity?

    The laughable thing here is that the admin picked some gays to go represent. So evidently everyone involved assumed he was gay.

  20. BobN says

    “The laughable thing here is that the admin picked some gays to go represent. So evidently everyone involved assumed he was gay.”

    He was offered the job privately beforehand, I’m sure, just as they always do.

  21. YSOSERIOUS says

    I was at the US Skating Championship when he was still in the Junior Division. He was an amazing performer, with one little glitch – the entire inside seam to his outfit blew out at once – there was little Brian with his assets showing.

    There was an audible gasp and he skated off the stage. Very cute.

  22. SpaceCadet says

    A lot of you people are so cynical. He’s coming out for himself not to appease or shock you. Sounds like the lot of you don’t care unless it’s from someone unexpected.

  23. Tarc says

    I’m perplexed…. Boitano has been out for ages as far as I knew. It’s not like you could ever have missed it; blind grannies from Utah are saying ‘duh’.

  24. says

    The snide remarks are typical responses to recent “coming outs” (even when it’s only the media labeling them as such), especially if it’s been obvious all along that the person is gay. Underneath the snideness there’s hostility that an obviously gay person would, gasp, think he was shocking us by the announcement. As if shocking fellow gay people is the only reason to come out. It isn’t–it’s not a reason at all, yet many people only talk about that. How far we’ve drifted from Harvey Milk’s belief in the importance of coming out and being visible and open.

    In Brian’s case he had the choice to go to Sochi cowardly guarding his so-called private life or to make a statement that would bring more honesty and purpose to his being part of the delegation. He’s late in his honesty but it’s never too late to add more integrity to your life.

  25. Steven Stanley says

    Once again it floors me how ignorant gay people can be about what it means for a public figure to come out. So what if everyone “knew” he was gay! His coming out statement is no less valid than if it actually came as a surprise. But apparently the a-holes who post here think that no one actually needs to come out so long as they’re presumed gay. You really don’t get it, do you?

  26. Zeta says

    The more important question is “When will the IOC allow same-sex pairs to compete in skating events?”

    POSTED BY: RICH | DEC 19, 2013 3:46:12 PM

    You know, Rich, that’s actually a good question.

  27. Bill says

    @SpaceCadet: I don’t think Brian Boitano was coming out (in a public statement) for himself but rather as a statement that might help gays living in Russia. I’m assuming he meant just what he said about keeping his private life private, and made an exception in this case for altruistic reasons.

  28. Reed says

    This disturbs me 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. ” So like what practices can the olympics ignore Brian? How about persecuting gay people? Is that a ‘practice’ . Are you another Weir in the making?

  29. MaryM says

    How does he plan to protest the fascist homophobia in Russia while he is there?

    He has an obligation to protest – otherwise he is collaborator scum like Johnny Weir and Uncle Tom Roberts.

  30. Topol says

    Although I believe that everyone should come out on their own terms, I also think that Boitano has profited enormously from staying in the closet. He would not have gotten half of the endorsements he did had he come out earlier. And he wouldn’t be as rich a man today.

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