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Brian Boitano opens up about skating, sexuality ... and spangles

AOL Spotlight: Brian Boitano
Brian Boitano, Olympian and US delegate to the Sochi Olympics, discusses his most embarrassing costume, what it means to represent his country and why he decided to come out.

Boitano explains that he was really lucky to be an ice skater, because the media 'blitz' following his gold medal never really wore off. 'Ice skaters are really the only Olympic sport that goes onto a whole other life afterwards, if you think about it. After you finish your amateur career you go onto a professional career and it's all about touring and TV specials. Skaters are very lucky. If they're able to be successful in the amateur world, they can parlay that into doing years and years and years of work. I was able to parlay that into other things as well. I think I'm a lucky guy.'

So, how has Boitano managed to stay in the spotlight without ever slipping up? It's easy: he just said no to 'anything' he thought he'd be embarrassed by. (That's why you never saw him on a show where Playboy bunnies judged him as he skated to rock 'n' roll on ice ... yes, that actually aired.)

He's also stayed far away from any potentially mortifying skating costumes, and he won't wear anything 'with spangles,' or outfits that are exploding with rhinestones or glitter. As far as the worst outfit he's ever worn, he remembers one show where he had to wear silver skintight tights and a lavender shirt with diamonds. That wasn't his favorite look.

Though Brian admits that 'everybody wants their accomplishments to be the first thing that people talk about,' he understands that people are curious about his sexuality.

He explains that the 'real reason' he decided to come out was because the US delegation is sending 'such a strong message of tolerance and diversity through the president. When I was named to the delegation, I didn't realize that the president was sending this message. When I read it in the press, I thought 'wow, I can't really be quiet about this anymore.' I reserved that part of my life for friends and family, and I'd always been out to them. I was never ashamed. It was never about that. I didn't really think that I had to come out. But for the delegation and for the message that the president was sending, I decided to reveal that private side of my life.'

The varied reactions on Twitter didn't bother Boitano. 'If it wasn't a big surprise to you, I still had to make it official for the delegation,' he explains. 'My message is to Russia, so I needed to make it official, to step off that plane ... and like say 'here we are' and have Russia know exactly who we are and how we look as America.'

Join the discussion

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shortypants34 February 11 2014 at 5:53 AM

Brian Boitano is a wonderful skater and who cares what his sexual orientation is. I always thought he was gay way back when he was at the height of his career. Did that make him any less of a champion? We have to get over ourselves on this "Gay/Not Gay" issue.
Dolores Lanzaro, Flushing, NY

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2 replies
nippie39 shortypants34 February 11 2014 at 7:01 AM

right on

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Shari shortypants34 February 11 2014 at 7:56 AM

The gay/not gay issue will go away when BEING gay is not an issue. When Gays are accepted in all walks of the world, starting with our own country. Until the LGBT community no longer has to fight for every right, THEN and only then will the 'issue' of being gay go away. Long to short, don't hold your breath for it to happen, but try looking at your own house first.

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rjddac February 11 2014 at 8:52 AM

I wonder what Russia's reply would be?

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carolyn9m February 11 2014 at 9:36 AM

Thanks for my laugh for the morning very funny post Craig.

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Fishgirl February 11 2014 at 7:50 AM

Umm, we already knew.

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Tom February 11 2014 at 7:49 AM

Seriously? Did people not know this before he came out?

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mojo4129 February 11 2014 at 9:36 AM

That's it. It's time I came out. I'm straight.

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vallontina February 11 2014 at 8:17 AM

Brian is so talented! I loved watching him skate AND now his cooking and design shows!

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1 reply
Richard vallontina February 11 2014 at 8:23 AM

Absolutely ... great athlete, and now a wonderful cook as well.

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Hi Dennis! February 11 2014 at 6:54 AM

yeah, huge secret....

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ajt1025 February 11 2014 at 8:12 AM

So what is the big deal? Everyone new and didn't care he shined for United States and still draws in large crowds. Who cares who he sleeps with, its none of our business in the first place. Americans and the homophoics better grow up. I would rather have gay friends and neighbors before some of the fools who keep bashing others because they are differant.

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bbtour2000 February 11 2014 at 8:11 AM

Someday, when a person of notoriety announces their sexual orientation the only reaction will be
SO. I hope it is soon.

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