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Brian Boitano never planned to publicly announce he is gay

Friday, January 10, 2014
APBrian Boitano

AP
Brian Boitano

BOSTON — Brian Boitano never intended to publicly reveal he is gay until he was chosen for the U.S. Olympic delegation by President Barack Obama last month.

Calling himself “a private guy,” Boitano told The Associated Press on Thursday that he never planned to come out. But moments before his presence on the delegation was revealed, Boitano realized what a powerful statement the president was making.

Obama chose openly gay athletes Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow for the delegation, as well. Boitano said his decision to say “being gay is just one part of who I am” in a statement on Dec. 19 “literally came to fruition” moments before the White House announced the makeup of the delegation.

“I don’t feel that I can represent the country without revealing this incredible side of myself,” Boitano said. “This is an important moment, and to represent my country in Russia, it’s a platform that is so important for me.”

The 1988 Olympic gold medalist hopes other countries will make similar endorsements of an open way of life by who represents them at Sochi. He’s proud of Obama’s stance.

“Our nation is at the forefront of trying to create a more tolerant public,” he said. “The president is kind of saying to Russia that as a strong country, we believe in this and if you don’t follow along, we will leave you behind in this thought process.”

Russia has come under heavy criticism for passing national laws banning “gay propaganda,” and there were even suggestions for the United States to boycott the Sochi Games as a protest. But Obama rejected that idea, saying with “gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze,” a stronger statement would be made.

Boitano was in Courchevel, France, when Obama announced the delegation, which also includes former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, deputy Secretary of State William Burns and presidential adviser Rob Nabors.

“I feel great about the delegation and being part of the movement,” Boitano said. “It’s important personally to feel I am representing the country and the president’s message.”

Moments after he released his statement in December, Boitano began receiving words of support from the figure skating community, including Olympic champions Dick Button and Carol Heiss Jenkins.

“That feedback for me is really important, especially coming from my peers,” he said. “They know how private a person I am and that this was a big move for me.”

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Filed under: LGBTQ Life, Olympics, [ Editor's Picks ]

107 more reader comments:

  1. Aww

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:30pm
  2. Its nobody’s business!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:31pm
  3. but we already new

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:31pm
  4. Who didn’t know?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:32pm
  5. BUT I AM VERY PROUD THAT HE DID!!
    I AM PROUD TO BE GAY !!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:32pm
  6. Cause it’s no ones business

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:32pm
  7. I thought this was common acknowledge?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:32pm
  8. So that’s what Brian Boitano would do…

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:32pm
  9. I'm sure he'd kick an ass or two.

    Replied on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:04pm
  10. Everyone already knew. DUH Proud of him . Go Brien

    Replied on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:11pm
  11. Did he need to?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:32pm
  12. He didn’t already? I mean come on.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:32pm
  13. Um, good for him….he didn’t need to. Flamming!!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:32pm
  14. Another great role model for our children!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:33pm
  15. Come on, Bri-Bri. No one was shocked…..

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:34pm
  16. As if anyone didn’t already know he’s gay…

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:35pm
  17. No big deal. He is who he is and he should be happy.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:35pm
  18. Oh great, now I have that South Park song stuck in my head again.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:35pm
  19. Better than what would Nancy Kerrigan do, song, now aint it? MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA now you got the song stuck in your head with new lyrics!

    Replied on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 6:39pm
  20. He never really had to. How often do you see straight men with Ice Dancer on their resume?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:35pm
  21. Really! Did he think we didn't already know?

    Replied on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 8:32pm
  22. Singles skater...he didn't dance ;)

    Replied on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 10:02pm
  23. So what. I don’t think the kids cared so much anyways.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:35pm
  24. There are some things that are so obvious that they don’t need announcing. He is who he is. No need for anyone to apologize for being gay. But it was rather apparent with him… <3

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:37pm
  25. just like Ricky Martin :P

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:38pm
  26. no he didnt need to because it was no surprise

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:38pm
  27. oh honey, we all already knew it, don’t kid yourself.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:38pm
  28. Good for him! Except – I thought he was out…

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:39pm
  29. who didn’t know he was gay. I didn’t occur to me that he wasnt out

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:39pm
  30. In those pants, didn’t he already?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:40pm
  31. stop hidding who you are and be proud

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:41pm
  32. I have shocking news…….Is everyone sitting down?
    Richard Simmons Is Gay!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:42pm
  33. Lol

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:42pm
  34. I’m loving the way all these gay athletes are coming out just before the Sochi Winter Olympics …… I think it’s making a real statement and I hope Russia is taking note !! ; )

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:43pm
  35. How many of the Russian skaters are hiding in the closet?.......and why shouldn't they, the way Russia is.

    Replied on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:43pm
  36. Announcements should not need to be made….. I’ve yet to hear anyone having to announce that they are straight unless of course they are politicians who have been caught doing silly things like “showering with my gay roommate” or toe tapping in the men’s room!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:43pm
  37. I think he didn’t need to announce it.He is so neat and clean we already knew.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:44pm
  38. so cool ! Be who and what you are……..and the world will love you for THAT !

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:48pm
  39. Brave guy. We need more like him.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:48pm
  40. You can see his gayness from outer space

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:48pm
  41. He built the pyramids and now it’s Russia he’s going to take down.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:49pm
  42. as if we didn’t already know but, yeah, who cares? Life would be so much better if people didn’t label others.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:49pm
  43. Can’t wait till people won’t have to hide it anymore

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:49pm
  44. did he need to do it?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:49pm
  45. It doesn’t matter who “knows” or “thinks” what matters is that he had the courage to not care what others would think and just said it out loud! Trust me, that is more courage than we see in our politicians!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:50pm
  46. LMAO he didn’t have too

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:50pm
  47. An announcement wasn’t needed either way, everyone already knew. He is a wonderful person.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:53pm
  48. never heard if him until the south park movie

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:53pm
  49. The problem with keeping stuff bottled up is that sometimes the bottle is crystal clear and people can see in there anyway.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:55pm
  50. Who didnt know he was gay?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:55pm
  51. Duh.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:55pm
  52. He didn’t have to I think everyone already knew.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:56pm
  53. it’s not like he had too. He screams gay-lol Gay is a wonderful thing :)

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 3:59pm
  54. He never really had to publicly announce it…sorry Brian. One would have to be headless not to know you’re gay sweetie. ;)

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:00pm
  55. Ummmm???? We already knew….

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:00pm
  56. Didn’t even have to time travel to 3010 to do it.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:00pm
  57. like everybody didn’t know? lol

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:02pm
  58. now I know who this guy iz. besides the song.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:04pm
  59. Didn’t have too! Lady please!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:06pm
  60. was there ever any doubt?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:08pm
  61. News Flash for him, he didn’t have to. We all knew. Duh!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:09pm
  62. Because it wasn’t necessary!!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:15pm
  63. he didnt need to I already knew

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:16pm
  64. why he should to publicly announce he’s gay..??? that’s his business … be gay = normal thing ….

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:17pm
  65. Like we didn’t know already! Funny man.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:21pm
  66. Uh, he never really had to, though

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:21pm
  67. Probably only 10% of male figure skaters are straight! Lol!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:22pm
  68. Lmao…he was flamingly in your face!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:23pm
  69. Why not I wonder?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:25pm
  70. I didn’t think he needed to come out. It’s not like we don’t already know XD

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:28pm
  71. Glad to know he finally recognizes that there’s nothing wrong about being gay so he could publicly acknowledge a simple fact everyone already knows and we can all move on.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:31pm
  72. Only every time he opened his mouth.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:40pm
  73. is he in that much denial that he didn’t think people already knew that he was gay? Who the hell does he think he’s kidding!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:42pm
  74. Str8 male ice skaters?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:47pm
  75. Boitano is a great athlete and we should all be proud of him.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:58pm
  76. I pray for the day when it’s never mentioned….or, if so, it’s along with a litany of other personal ‘labels’ like ‘Presbyterian, vegetarian, Republican, dyslexic, adoptive parent, lactose-intolerant, college dropout, Phi Beta Kappa….well, you get the idea….I NEVER hear media folks say, “Here’s David Letterman….straight talk show host”…..or, “You may have thought Hugh Jackman was gay…but guess what…he’s straight!”

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:58pm
  77. I can’t for the life of me understand why someone doesn’t come out! Especially the rich and famous. I was kicked out, but we all have someone who loves us and will take us in. You’re free to be you and never have to be afraid.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:59pm
  78. But then NOBODY would eve know!? Right. My 90 year old aunt knew he was Gay before I did. Paleeze Mary.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:59pm
  79. Well ease your mind Brian, many of us already knew! No earth shattering revelations from you Brian!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:06pm
  80. Sometimes, you just know…they don’t need to explain.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:06pm
  81. sure

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:09pm
  82. That’s really not a surprise. The dude figure skates.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:09pm
  83. Gurl you didn’t have to announce it. We knew it!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:11pm
  84. Honestly, I would never have known he was………just because a man ice skates………doesn’t mean he is gay! Haha…….just trying to give you the comment all the straights would say! Hehe!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:13pm
  85. Grow up Brian. You are almost an embarrassment to the gay community at this point. Grow some balls. If military personnel, police, factory workers, and teachers have the guts to live openly, I think an ice skater could have done it years ago. You shouldn’t be allowed to even stand in the shadows of someone like King or Navratilova.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:25pm
  86. Lmao hilarious!!! He never planned to publicly announce he is gay….. He’s so gay that being IN public, publicly announces he’s gay. You didn’t have to tell anyone, we’ve known for years…

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:26pm
  87. Clearly We didn’t need a public announcement. Not only is it HIS business but we already knew

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:27pm
  88. SOOOOOOOOOO WHAAAAAAT!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:53pm
  89. He never really NEEDED to..

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 5:57pm
  90. He did not have to…

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 6:01pm
  91. Because he didn’t have to.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 6:07pm
  92. To late we all already knew anyways

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 6:14pm
  93. He didn’t have to we all knew it 20 years ago.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 6:38pm
  94. Oh so he was going to keep us guessing FOREVER?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 7:17pm
  95. Thats cuz we all knew already

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 7:35pm
  96. Like he had to announce it ??

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 7:51pm
  97. I’m happy for you.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 7:55pm
  98. right…because we needed the actual announcement to know.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 8:04pm
  99. No one should have to ‘announce’ they are gay anyways. I never had to announce I was straight! Be who you are & love who you want! Except clowns– never love clowns, ’cause they are creepy ;)

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 8:19pm
  100. All I know is that I have a great deal of respect for Brian Boitano. But I also know that every time a public figure comes out as being gay, is a moment to remember for all LGBTQ people.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 8:26pm
  101. I don’t really understand this sort of personal cowardice, particularly given that everyone already knew. So many people came forward during the “It Gets Better” campaign, including many straight allies, to ‘come out’ in support of LGBTI youth. Why would someone choose to do nothing to help?

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 8:48pm
  102. Love him!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 8:50pm
  103. Because everyone pretty much knew. He could not pretend to be straight.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 9:03pm
  104. It’s really no one’s business but his, although as a role model for gay kids, he could do a lot of good. I hope he thinks of it that way.

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 9:07pm
  105. Most knew. Glad he can be himself

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 9:43pm
  106. Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 10:04pm
  107. thats a shocker. not

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 10:47pm