The Interview With Raj Mathai

The Interview With Raj Mathai

In-depth interviews that go beyond one or two soundbites

The Interview: Brian Boitano

Olympic gold medalist talks to NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai about his decision to join the U.S. Olympic delegation and come out to the public as a gay man.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai sits down with Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano to discuss his decision to join the U.S. Olympic delegation. (Published Friday, Feb 7, 2014)

    Brian Boitano was thrust into the public spotlight 26 years ago when he won the gold medal in figure skating at the Calgary Winter Olympics.

    It's a moment he'll never forget.

    "There's no better feeling than you're literally looking back at what you just did and saying, 'I did it' and it was the most important night of my life," Boitano said.

    Striking gold in 1988 allowed him to build the Boitano brand, which includes a professional skating and a TV career on the Food Network and HGTV.

    While he travels around the world much of the year, when Boitano is at his San Francisco home, he likes his privacy.

    But Boitano's private side was made public when President Barack Obama named him to the U.S. delegation for the Sochi Olympic games. He told NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai he wasn't planning on coming out as gay, but now looks at it as an opportunity.

    "It's literally our president sending a message of tolerance and diversity to another country, and basically saying we as Americans are moving forward and if you don't keep up with us, we're going to move forward without you," Boitano said.

    Boitano said he didn't have much time to think about what being named to the U.S. delegation would mean: five hours to be exact. He now hopes, with this side of him being revealed, people won't simply see him as a gay Olympian.

    "I've seen a lot of people that are so accomplished come out, and the first thing people classify them as is as a gay individual, and I think people want all of their accomplishments and all the different parts of their life to be valued, and it is," Boitano said. "It's a great part of my life, but it is one part of my life. I am so many things."