By Chris Mascaro
December 19, 2013

Brian Boitano (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Brian Boitano had refused to talk about his personal life publicly until now. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympic figure skating gold medalist, announced in a statement on Thursday that he is gay.

“Being gay is just one part of who I am,” Boitano said in a statement from his publicist.

Boitano, 50, was named as part of a White House delegation to the Sochi Olympics that also includes two-time Olympic hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow and tennis legend Billie Jean King, who are both openly gay.

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Here is Boitano's full statement:

"I am currently skating in Europe but want to provide a statement regarding my appointment to the Olympic delegation. I have been fortunate to represent the United States of America in three different Olympics, and now I am honored to be part of the presidential delegation to the Olympics in Sochi. It has been my experience from competing around the world and in Russia that Olympic athletes can come together in friendship, peace and mutual respect regardless of their individual country’s practices.

"It is my desire to be defined by my achievements and my contributions. While I am proud to play a public role in representing the American Olympic Delegation as a former Olympic athlete, I have always reserved my private life for my family and friends and will continue to do so. I am many things: a son, a brother, and uncle, a friend, an athlete, a cook, an author, and 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. As an athlete, I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations."

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