Former gold medalist Boitano announces he's gay prior to 2014 Sochi Olympics

Dec 19, 3:22 PM

Olympic-gold-medalist Brian Boitano has announced he's gay two days after being named to the U.S. Olympic delegation in Sochi, ESPN.com reported Thursday. 

Boitano now joins Billie Jean King and Cailtin Cahow as one of the three of five openly-gay athletes in the delegation, a move that many feel is the strongest opposition to Russia's anti-gay legislature. 

"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 a statement. "As an athlete, I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations."

With many calling for a boycott of the Sochi Olympics, president Barack Obama has remained firm in his response that a stronger statement can be made "by gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze."

While the President has remained neutral on his opinion of Russia's legislature, his actions in deciding to not send a president, vice president, first lady or any former of the titles for the first time since 2000 was widely seen as a message to Russia on the White House's stance on its controversial laws.  

Although athletes and delegates are forbidden from demonstrating or protesting during that games, Boitano is confident that the Olympic spirit will prevail. 

"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."