Olympic figure skating champion Brian Boitano came out in a statement Thursday, two days after being named as part of a White House delegation to the Sochi Olympics that includes two other openly gay athletes.
“Being gay is just one part of who I am,” Boitano said in a statement from his publicist.
Boitano, 50, won the 1988 Olympic figure skating title.
He is on the delegation to Sochi along with openly gay American athletes two-time Olympic hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow and tennis legend Billie Jean King.
U.S. Olympic Team roster so far
Here’s Boitano’s full statement from his publicist:
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.
Also on the delegation are five-time U.S. Olympic champion speedskaters Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden.
Video: Cahow discusses being on Sochi delegation
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” a documentary on 18 African-American Olympians at the Berlin 1936 Games, is set to be screened in the spring and be narrated and executive produced by Blair Underwood, according to Variety.
The group of 18, headlined by Jesse Owens, competed in the face of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler on the brink of World War II.
Trailers for the film are here and here.
From the film’s website:
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice is a feature length documentary exploring the trials and triumphs of 18 African American Olympians in 1936. Set against the strained and turbulent atmosphere of a racially divided America, which was torn between boycotting Hitler’s Olympics or participating in the Third Reich’s grandest affair, the film follows 16 men and two women before, during and after their heroic turn at the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. They represented a country that considered them second class citizens and competed in a country that rolled out the red carpet in spite of an undercurrent of Aryan superiority and anti-Semitism. They carried the weight of a race on their shoulders and did the unexpected with grace and dignity.
The athletes experienced things that they were not expecting—applause, warm welcomes, integrated Olympic villages and the respect of their competitors. They were world heroes yet returned home to a short-lived glory. This story is complicated. This story is triumphant but unheralded.”
MORE: See ‘Race’ film poster
Family members of the Munich 1972 Olympic attack victims “described the extent of the cruelty” in interviews for “Munich 1972 & Beyond,” an upcoming documentary on the massacre, according to The New York Times.
Eleven Israeli athletes and officials were killed after being taken hostage by a Palestinian group in the athletes’ village nearly 40 years ago, with nine dying in a failed rescue attempt.
In 1992, widows of two of the victims learned details of how the athletes and officials were treated — including via graphic photographs — and recently spoke publicly about it, according to the newspaper.
“What they did is that they cut off his genitals through his underwear and abused him,” Ilana Romano said through a translator of husband Yossef Romano, an Olympic weightlifter, according to the newspaper. “Can you imagine the nine others sitting around tied up? They watched this.”
The documentary “Munich 1972 & Beyond,” announced earlier this year, is set to be released in early 2016. Here’s an interview with one of the film’s producers.
In 2014, it was announced that a $2.3 million memorial in Munich was planned to remember the victims, with the International Olympic Committee contributing $250,000.
At Rio 2016, a moment of remembrance will be held during the Closing Ceremony and a special mourning area will be in the Olympic village to honor those who have died during an Olympic Games.
PHOTOS: Munich 1972 Olympic sites, including massacre site