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Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano has been known for decades for his exceptional, world-class figure skating skills. But after his appointment last month to the United States delegation for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Boitano has become an ambassador for LGBT rights and equality.
Boitano had kept his personal life and sexual orientation out of public eye, but on Monday night the gold medalist told Piers Morgan that his recent appointment had encouraged him to go public about his identification as a gay man:
“I knew that I had to make a statement and make it official to go to Sochi, because I really wanted to stand strong with the rest of the delegation and make that statement of tolerance and diversity and say this is what we look like in America,” he said.
Given the opportunity, what would Boitano say to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose policies and public statements have been so openly anti-gay? The newly appointed US ambassador’s hypothetical greeting was typically, very diplomatic:
“I would probably say it's a privilege to be here as a guest in your country," explained Boitano. "I have many friends who I have met competing throughout the world in the Olympics, and I'm also honored to be here representing my country and my president's message.”
After having the ultimate career in music journalism, including serving as senior editor of Rolling Stone Magazine, Ben Fong-Torres has personal expertise on many of the biggest names in pop culture. That said, the author and broadcaster served as an ideal guest to discuss Sunday evening's Paul McCartney–Ringo Starr Grammy reunion.
In light of the upcoming premiere of CNN’s original “THE SIXTIES: The British Invasion” (airing Thursday at 9pm), it’s no wonder that in joining "Piers Morgan Live" on Monday night, the conversation quickly turned back to the "Beatlemania" origins of McCartney and Starr’s prolific careers. Joining the host live, the former San Francisco Chronicle writer offered his insight as to how this fresh band managed to take over a nation whose radio waves had primarily been Brit-free:
“The reason they have made it in America, especially, was because they were a novelty,” the former Rolling Stone editor explained. “They were so different. And they were so good and they were so charming and they were so cute.”
But Fong-Torres explained that for all their appeal, the Beatles didn’t top American charts without some serious hard work:
“We're celebrating the 50th anniversary or 'Beatlemania' but the fact was that they formed in the late '50s and were professional by 1960," said Monday's guest. "They worked hard day and night, doing multiple sets in Germany as well as Liverpool, and then finally to London, and so they were well-practiced by that time.”
While the sports world has been abuzz since the Seattle Seahawks’ NFC Championship game victory over the San Francisco 49ers, the talk hasn’t simply been about Seattle's upcoming Super Bowl showdown against the Denver Broncos. Cornerback Richard Sherman’s energized post game outburst following a decisive late play in the end zone has kept writers, pundits, and fans alike enthralled.
"Well, I'm the best player in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're going to get," bellowed Sherman, in an interview with FOX Sports' Erin Andrews. "Don't you ever talk about me ... Don't you open your mouth about the best, or I'm going to shut it for you real quick."
Sherman’s remarks generated some angry backlash, with everything from the term “thug” to racial slurs being used to demean the 25-year-old Seahawk.
But on "Piers Morgan Live" Monday night, Richard Sherman’s brother, Branton Sherman, said he and his family know that the heated episode is not indicative of Richard’s true character:
“The first thing I said to my brother I said, ‘Bro, I love you man. I love you for that.’ You know, because I know Richard. He's an awesome person.”
Branton said his brother’s postgame flare-up was not unlike energy-boosting tactics used by other great sportsmen, like Muhammad Ali and Deion Sanders:
“It was just Richard being passionate about his craft,” Branton told Morgan. “He feels like he's the best. He wants everyone to know that. And that day, he let the world know.”