Figure skater Brian Boitano comes out after appointed to Sochi delegation

Olympic figure skating gold medalist Brian Boitano issued a public statement on December 19 to announce that he is gay.

His announcement arrives just after the White House appointed Boitano on December 17 to the U.S. delegation that will attend the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony in 2014.

"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," he stated.

The opening ceremony delegation also includes tennis champion Billie Jean King, who is also openly gay.

U.S. ice hockey Olympic medalist Caitlin Cahow, who also is openly gay, will be a member of the U.S. delegation attending the Olympic closing ceremony.

The president, first lady, and vice-president will not attend the Olympics. The inclusion of openly gay athletes and the absence of President Barack Obama is being interpreted as a strong stance by the U.S. against Russia's antigay legislation.

Meanwhile, Vancouver is sending openly gay city councillor Tim Stevenson, instead of Mayor Gregor Robertson, to advocate for LGBT rights with the International Olympic Committee.

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