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Skating legend Brian Boitano stands for gay rights in Russia

Olympic gold medal figure skater Brian Boitano came out publicly before joining the U.S. delegation to The Winter Olympics in Sochi. (David Goldman/AP)

Olympic gold medal figure skater Brian Boitano came out publicly before joining the U.S. delegation to The Winter Olympics in Sochi. (David Goldman/AP)

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Jian speaks with figure skating legend Brian Boitano, member of the official U.S. delegation to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, about standing for gay rights in Russia.

Boitano, who took home the gold medal in figure skating at the 1988 Olympics, came out publicly as gay just days after being being named to the delegation -- which also includes openly-lesbian women's hockey player Caitlin Cahow. (Out tennis great Billie Jean King was originally slated to join the delegation as well but opted to stay home to tend to her mother's failing health.)

VIDEO | Continue on to see the video version of this interview

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Sending a message

U.S. President Barack Obama says the decision to include gay athletes was very much a deliberate one, telling NBC, "There is no doubt we wanted to make it very clear that we do not abide by discrimination in anything, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."

For his part, Boitano hopes to combat Russia's anti-gay laws by starting a conversation, acting as a surrogate for athletes who are focused on their respective competitions. He doesn't agree with critics who say the best way to protest is to stay home.

"In my opinion, it's wrong to boycott. This is a moment people have worked their entire lives for, and their job is to represent their country as best they can."

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