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Brian Boitano On Coming Out As Gay: 'I Had To Go Past My Comfort Zone'

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In a new Today interview, retired Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano opened up about his decision to come out as gay last month.

Speaking to Today's Matt Lauer, Boitano, 50, said he felt compelled to acknowledge his sexuality after President Barack Obama named him to the Olympic delegation heading to Sochi, Russia for the opening ceremonies on Feb. 7 alongside two other gay athletes, tennis great Billie Jean King and hockey player Caitlin Cahow.

“When the president named the delegation, and I read in the news what his message was of tolerance and diversity, I thought, I have to take this opportunity,’’ Boitano said. “I’ve always wanted to represent my country as best I could, and I knew that I had to go past my comfort zone and reveal a private side of my life that I’ve never done before because I felt that the message is so strong.”

He went on to note that his inclusion on the delegation alongside King and Cahow "speaks measures" in response to Russia's controversial "gay propaganda" legislation.

Boitano first opened up about his sexuality in a statement sent to The Huffington Post and other media outlets on Dec. 19.

"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," he said at the time. "First and foremost I am an American athlete and I am proud to live in a country that encourages diversity, openness and tolerance."

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