An Olympic medal winning figure skater who was two days ago announced as part of the US delegation going to the Sochi Winter Olympics, has come out as gay.
Brian Boitano, 1988 gold medal-winning figure skater will join the openly gay tennis star Billie Jean King and ice hockey medal-winner Caitlin Cahow, in the delegation to the Winter Olympics in February.
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday named the gay sports stars as part of America’s delegation to the Winter Olympics in Russia – but in a significant move confirmed that he will not be attending the event himself. February will be the first time since 2000 that the US has not sent a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Olympics.
Boitano came out on Thursday, reports the Associated Press, saying that “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,” Boitano said in his statement.
“As an athlete, I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations.”
There has been an international outcry since Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the legislation into law in June, which bans the promotion of homosexuality to minors.
The Sochi Games have been the subject of a heated debate around whether other countries should boycott based on the law.
Meanwhile, former UK Foreign minister Denis MacShane has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to personally boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in protest at President Vladimir Putin’s “rank homophobia”.
In response, Downing Street said it “doesn’t usually talk about the Prime Minister’s travel plans in advance.”
However, both President Hollande and President Gauck failed to state their official reasons for not attending.