Skater Brian Boitano comes out as third gay member of U.S. Sochi delegation

December 19, 2013
(Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Brian Boitano -- a gold-medal-winning figure skater and member of the U.S. delegation to the Sochi Winter Olympics -- announced Thursday he is gay, making him the third gay member of the delegation to travel in February to Russia.

The 50-year-old Boitano, who has deflected questions about his sexuality in the past, said in a statement Thursday that “being gay is just one part of who I am.” On Tuesday President Obama named Boitano to the delegation along with Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow, two openly lesbian star athletes.

“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 said in a statement published by USA Today. “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 very makeup of the delegation has appeared to send a clear message about the administration's dissatisfaction with the Russian government on a range of foreign policy and human-rights issues, including the treatment of gays. President Obama, Vice President Biden and the first lady will not attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Juliet Eilperin is a White House correspondent for The Washington Post, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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Ed O'Keefe · December 19, 2013