Brian Boitano, Olympic gold medalist and US delegate to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, has come out as openly gay.
Taking home the gold for figure skating in 1988, Brian was recently appointed by President Obama to join the country's Olympic delegation, which also includes openly gay athletes Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow. The President, Vice President, and First Lady will not be in attendance.
In the midst of Russia's anti-gay "propaganda laws" and the subsequent accounts of violence against Russia's LGBT community, many are urging for the safety of all athletes and fans during the Olympics, as well as for the discriminatory laws to be repealed by the Russian Government.
Just days after his appointment to the delegation was announced, Brian opened up for the first time about being LGBT, saying, "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. First and foremost I am an American athlete and I am proud to live in a country that encourages diversity, openness and tolerance." He added, "it is my desire to be defined by my achievements and contributions."
And his list of athletic accomplishments is groundbreaking and extensive. Winning Olympic, National, and World Champion titles in figure skating throughout the 1980s and continuing to compete into the '90s, one of the most significant moments in his career happened when he was still a teenager, when he became the first American to successfully land a triple axel.
Brian's time with the Olympic Games give him faith that there can be unity and support in Sochi next year. "It has been my experience from competing around the world and in Russia," he said, "that Olympic athletes can come together in friendship, peace and mutual respect regardless of their individual country's practices."