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Figure skater Brian Boitano comes out as before Sochi Olympics

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U.S. figure skating champion Brian Boitano revealed he is gay in a statement published Dec. 19 in USA Today.

Boitano, the 1988 Olympic gold medalist, made the revelation two days after being named to the official U.S. delegation to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Brian has previously remained silent about his homosexuality but reportedly felt compelled to speak out in light of Russia's harsh anti-gay propaganda laws.

"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," said Boitano.

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."

In June 2013, the Russian parliament passed a law barring "propaganda" about homosexuality, or "nontraditional sexual relations," citing the need to protect children.

The International Olympic Committee said the Russian government has assured them that athletes and fans at the Sochi Games will not face discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Tennis player Billie Jean King, and two-time U.S. ice hockey Olympic medalist Caitlin Cahow, who are both openly gay, have also been named to the U.S. delegation to the Sochi Games.

The 2014 Sochi Olympics kick off Feb. 7.

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