Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist in figure skating, officially came out as gay Thursday. The announcement came days after Boitano was announced as a member of the U.S. delegation to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, which have been mired in controversy over host country Russia’s discrimination against gays.
One gets the sense that the 50-year-old Boitano is one of those public figures who has probably been out to his friends and family for the majority of his adult life, but has only recently made the announcement to go public.
But there have been clues over the years and no, not only because he was a male figure skater. Boitano recently appeared on a Food Network show, What Would Brian Boitano Make??, which was described by Business Insider’s Josh Barro as a “show about his life as a single man entertaining his friends at his home in San Francisco.”
Then there was South Park, which venerated Boitano through the catchphrase “What Would Brian Boitano Do,” later adapted into a song in the 1999 “South Park” movie. That all began with the original “Spirit of Christmas” short, in which Boitano appeared as a character.
“Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride,” just the fourth episode, from the show’s first season back in 1997, also briefly featured Boitano. When Stan’s dog Sparky, who is gay, visits Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Animal Sanctuary, there’s an “It’s a Small World”-like theme park featuring gay people and animals- and who should skate by, but Boitano himself.
If the skating champion ever had a problem with the “outing,” he never showed it; he has skated to the “What Would Brian Boitano Do” song in exhibitions, and recorded a tribute message on the occasion of the show’s 200th episode in 2010:
And finally, DVDA- the joke metal band led by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, recorded a rocked-up version of “What Would Brian Boitano Do” for the movie’s closing credits, which includes a lyric about “round up all your lasses and tell ‘em to have no fear.” Sorry, lasses.