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

AOL Spotlight: Brian Boitano
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.'