Brian Boitano announces he's gay before Sochi Olympics trip

Olympic figure skating gold medalist Brian Boitano, who the White House named to the United States' official 2014 Sochi Olympics delegation, came out in a statement Thursday.

"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," Boitano said in a statement that BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner reports was distributed by the White House.

Following his announcement, Boitano is now the third openly gay athlete selected for the U.S. delegation to February's Winter Olympics. He will join tennis great Billie Jean King and two-time Olympic ice hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow in representing America's LGBT community in Russia.

Earlier Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney pushed back against the idea the Sochi delegation was meant to send a message over Russia's anti-gay law. But with three openly gay members, one of whom reportedly had his coming out circulated by the White House, the delegation is making a strong statement about LGBT equality and diversity.

Here's Boitano's statement in full:

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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