I am pleased to note that President Obama appears to be trolling the Russians. He's politely declined to attend the Olympics, but generously offered as his emissaries a number of extremely famous American athletes who also happen to be gay. Putin could still opt to arrest them, I suppose, but now that we've announced that there will be a quintillion cameras focused on them at all times, and the story would break on Twitter before they finished snapping the cuffs on, so this is an unlikely result at best.

Accompanying this story is the news that Brian Boitano has come out. If you know who he is, you probably expressed vague confusion and asked if he didn't already do that like twenty years ago? Anyone who has ever seen this man has quickly come to the conclusion that the only closet he's familiar with is the kind that is full of sequinned ice dancing costumes.

If you're too young to know who Brian Boitano is or why the hell he is on Food Network, Boitano is the main reason we have the running joke that all male figure skaters must be gay. He was the Johnny Weir of his time. In fact, if I recall correctly, he's probably where Weir got his policy of answering all the rude queries about his sexual orientation with, "Wow, that's a nosy question." People asked him that a lot less; he medaled in Calgary in 1988, back when an announcement of your homosexuality ranked somewhere between 'embezzling' and 'eating live babies on national TV' on the scale of PR disasters, and he took the gold, so on the whole we liked him too much to put him in a corner like that.

(If you've not been keeping track of Weir either, the answer is yes. He's in New York last I checked, and is now Johnny Weir-Voronov, having gotten hitched to a fellow named Victor. They are ridiculously twee. His costuming on the ice, as it turns out, is an accurate reflection of his fashion sense off the ice, as is immediately apparent if you take a look at the photos in his Twitter feed. It involves a lot of leggings, and things with enormous furry collars.)

Boitano was always pretty much out in the sense that he is so culturally gay that you would have to be blind, deaf, and also possibly deceased not to have noticed, though. Seriously. I've never followed figure skating all that closely, but IIRC he's also developed a tendency to be a bit of a wiseass since going pro as an artistic/show skater and TV host, and there's no longer any danger of his runaway mouth affecting his technical scores.

The reason he's decided to make an official announcement now is that he's ticked, and he wants to make sure that the Russians have no plausible deniability. If he'd shown up without doing that, the Russians could have politely ignored him, and when asked about it later, gone, "Goodness! We had no idea! How do you think we're running this place, anyway? We would never arrest someone on the mere suspicion of being kind of swishy and overly-fond of sequins..." etc etc etc. As you can tell from some of the stuff above, Boitano has always been very good at handling cameras and very bad at not telling people what he thinks, so he is probably not someone you want to see on the other side of a public relations fight you have stupidly decided to pick with most of the western hemisphere.

[Edit: If you're curious as to how he won gold, his specialty was making gravity his bitch. Still pretty much is. He's the one in solid red. His 50th birthday was a couple weeks before that was taped.]


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