In his first interview since coming out, Olympian Brian Boitano said that he did not feel a need to come out gay.

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.”