The most surprised person when Sunnyvale native and Olympic figure-skating gold-medalist Brian Boitano announced last month that he is gay?

Boitano himself.

He made the decision after being named to the U.S. delegation for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and reading that President Barack Obama was taking a political stand against Russia's anti-gay laws by also inviting two openly lesbian sports figures -- Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow.

Boitano talks about what his life has been like in the weeks since.

Q Why now?

A I've always been an inherently private person. But I believe so strongly in what President Obama is trying to say, so it didn't take me too long to join Billie Jean and Caitlin on this huge platform. It's literally one nation making a statement to another nation, and I needed to expand beyond my comfort zone. Suddenly, I realized: "Oh, my God. I'm going to come out." I never thought that I would even say those words to myself. But I realized I needed to send a message.

Q Still, you've said that you were startled when you read about your own announcement on Twitter. How has the reception been?


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A I guess I didn't understand how big this would be until I started getting feedback. I've had people literally thanking me. The biggest compliment for me is that I've handled it in the right way. People understand how I wanted this to be for the right reasons.

Q You have a new show called "The Brian Boitano Project" that debuted on HGTV on Jan. 16. Has it gotten lost in the shuffle?

A I'm having a hard time staying on message. But I did a Food Network talk show the other day, and they didn't talk about (the announcement). It's been like a tornado over the last month. Now, news shows want to talk to me. That's a first.

Q What is the program about?

A It's a four-episode series. I bought and renovated my great-great grandfather's house in a small village in Italy. It takes the viewer through me choosing a contractor, devising a floor plan, putting in a new kitchen and even as I put in new furniture.

Q It sounds like a lot is happening for you right now.

A Life definitely throws you a lot of curveballs. It's been a great lesson for me -- that you never know what to expect.