See Figure Skater Brian Boitano Now, 34 Years After Winning Olympic Gold
The 58-year-old is a chef, a renovator, a commentator, and a hero to South Park fans.
Brian Boitano became the fifth American figure skater to win Olympic gold in the men's singles event at the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary. By that time, the athlete had already scored several U.S. Championships and one of two World Championship titles. He also was a part of the technical tradition that newly crowned gold medalist Nathan Chen, known for his quadruple jumps, continues today. Boitano pushed skating forward by being the first American to land a triple axel and the first skater ever to land all six triple jumps in competition. And while he's stayed closely tied to the sport, the 58-year-old also embarked on a totally different career—and was immortalized in song in the most unlikely way. Read on to find out what Boitano has been up to since achieving Olympic glory.
Boitano won the "Battle of the Brians."
Because Boitano and his fellow frontrunner, Canadian skater Brian Orser, were considered to be equally matched, the 1988 Olympic men's figure skating event was dubbed by the media "The Battle of the Brians." The American skater edged out Orser, who took silver. (If you've been watching the 2022 Games, you've likely seen him rinkside—Orser coaches several internationally ranked skaters.) Viktor Petrenko, who was then representing the Soviet Union, came in third.
He's stayed involved in the sport.
Boitano turned professional not long after those Olympics but kept skating in pro competitions, tours, and TV specials, including 1990's Carmen on Ice, alongside former rival Orser and the 1988 ladies Olympic gold medalist, Katarina Witt. A few years later, he successfully lobbied for the opportunity to return to amateur status to attempt to compete in the 1994 Olympics, where he came in sixth place.
Boitano authored a book about skating, 1997's Boitano's Edge: Inside the Real World of Figure Skating, and, according to his official website, cofounded a production company to produce skating shows and specials. His foundation, Youth Skate, has been in operation since 1998 and introduces underprivileged kids in San Francisco to the sport.
He hosted a Food Network show and an HGTV show.
Meanwhile, millions of fans have discovered Boitano not as an Olympic athlete but as a chef and home makeover hobbyist. In 2009, he began hosting a cooking show for Food Network. Its title, What Would Brian Boitano Make?, is inspired by the song "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" which appears in the feature film version of the irreverent animated comedy South Park. (If the fact that he repurposed the title isn't enough proof that he found the outrageously heroic South Park version of him funny, Boitano told SF Gate in 2006, "Kids who don't know who I am, or what I did at the Olympics, meet me and think I'm cool because I'm in South Park.")
While What Would Brian Boitano Make? ended in 2010, Boitano has continued to make appearances demonstrating dishes on dozens of talk shows. A design show, The Brian Boitano Project, aired on HGTV in 2014 and featured Boitano renovating an old home in the small Northern Italian village his family name is traced back to.
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He came out publicly in 2013.
Boitano was announced as one of the individuals chosen to represent the United States through its official delegation to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Olympics, and two days later, he publicly shared that he is gay.
"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 in a statement, as reported by USA Today. "First and foremost I am an American athlete and I am proud to live in a country that encourages diversity, openness and tolerance. As an athlete, I hope we can remain focused on the Olympic spirit which celebrates achievement in sport by peoples of all nations."
USA Today noted that Boitano's announcement seemed to have been made in protest of Russia's "anti-gay propaganda law," which was passed in 2013 and has been widely condemned.
He's helping NBC cover the 2022 Winter Games.
As the Winter Games play out in Beijing this month, Boitano has been one of the Olympic alums on hand providing coverage and commentary. He's hosting a daily skating-focused show called Olympic Ice for NBC's streaming network Peacock, breaking down the events and interviewing current and past contenders along with 2014 bronze medalist, Ashley Wagner.
And he's cheering on the competitors, as well. After Nathan Chen's Olympic triumph on Feb. 9, Boitano welcomed him to the club, sharing a collage of every American man to take gold in the singles event and writing, "And now we are seven!!! So proud of you Nathan."