In his first interview since coming
out, Olympian Brian Boitano said that he did not feel a need to come out
Last month, the White House announced
that tennis legend Billie Jean King, hockey player Caitlin Cahow and
figure skater Boitano would be part of a 10-person delegation heading
to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Two days after the
announcement, Boitano announced that he's gay.
Appearing in his first interview since
his announcement, Boitano told Today's Matt Lauer that the
appointment prompted him to publicly acknowledge his sexuality.
“When the president named the
delegation, and I read in the news what his message was of tolerance
and diversity, I thought, I have to take this opportunity,” Boitano
said. “I think the message is so strong. I've always wanted to
represent my country as best I could, and I knew that I had to go
past my comfort zone and reveal a private side of my life that I've
never done before because I felt that the message is so strong.”
The addition of three openly gay
athletes to the delegation, Boitano said, sends a powerful message to
Russia, where leaders have defended passage of a controversial law
that prohibits the promotion of “gay propaganda.”
“I think that we have to be careful
once we go over there,” Boitano answered when asked whether he's
planning to speak out against the measure. “I think the statement
is already being made by us being on the delegation and Billie Jean
and Caitlin, and us standing together united as gay people showing
that there is freedom of speech, and we are successful human beings
and athletes. I think that speaks measures.”
On coming out, Boitano said that the
reaction “has been fantastic and really supportive.”
“[B]ut I really never felt that I had
to [come out],” he said.
“I've always been a private person.
I've kept the private side of my life special for my family and
friends who really knew me. I've never been ashamed of who I was.
I've always been open with them, so I really didn't feel that there
was a need. I'm just a private guy, and I realize that there's a
public side of my life and a private side. I've always chosen to
keep my sexuality private.”