1988 Olympic champion Brian Boitano spoke out in defense of Ilia Malinin.
During a live broadcast on social media, Malinin responded to a joking request to “prove that you’re straight” by saying that he could no longer be, because then he wouldn’t get the high components.
After that, the skater faced negativity in his address. He apologized “to everyone who was affected” and called his behavior adolescent.
In 2021, Olympic champion Nathan Chen was in a similar situation – he had to apologize for his comment.
“I said the same things when I was their age – and yet I was gay. If we had live social media back then, who knows what I would have said there?
These comments are not reflective of the kind of people these guys are.
When you answer questions, you expect people to ask about your skating, your jumps, your grades. You may not be prepared for other questions and may not be able to put your thoughts in order – and then you may say the wrong thing.
Athletes are focused on the competition and may not always know how best to express themselves.
So in those cases, you have to give yourself a chance to explain yourself when you have time to think. People get mad about something said on social media, but it’s more complicated in sports – you have to understand that,” Boitano said.