He sees 'lot of changes in my life'

by Brian Boitano

USA Today

 

An Olympic gold medal is amazing.

After you win it,everybody is asking you such monetaryquestions, about endorsements. All I wanted was to feel good about what I did.

I didn't want to get in my mind things like, "What kind of commercials can I do? Orwhat can I do with my life now?"

I wanted to keep all of that out of my mind, that's why i didn't want to hang round people that first night. I wanted to be alone,and just try to concentrate on he feeling of how I skated and how I'd done through out the competition.

I don't like people thinking that the reason i wanted to win was because on monetary things.Wasn't it Bill Johnson, when tthey asked him what a gold medal meant to him in 1984, who said, "Millions." It's a turn-off. I'm sure I'll do some things with it, but it's not why I treasure it.

My friends are more happy for me than I am. One fo my best friends, Doug Zeghibe, came up to Mom and said, "Mrs. Boitano, I need a hug. I've never anted anything so much in my life as this."

I think there are going to be lots of changes in my life. But when I step into the house that I was born in, nothing will change.

My bedroom will still be the same one I grew up in. The backyard will be the same. It won't care if Iwon a gold medal or not. It's my nucleus. Same with my parents. They don't care if I win or lose.

I don't know if winning has anything to do with me not being able to get any sleep Saturday night.

I had the chance. But I was busy thinking about things that were going to happen; how I was going to deal with them in the next week, and how much pressure would be put on me for press conferences, phot sessions, stuff like that.

It's kind of scary because you know your life is going to change, and you don't know if you're ready for it or if you want it to change. It's just hard to get that out of your mind.

There are certain things you have to be prepared for, but there are also certain things you have to keep to yourself, too. It's very important for me to have spent Saturday night alone in stead of spending it with people who are always complimentingyou, gah-gahing over you.

To me, it was my job, something I had to do.

The Battle of the Brians did exist (between me and Brian Orser). It wasn't really a battle. It was a contest. Battle just wasn't the right word.

It's wierd. Sometimes, I think I worry about other people too much. But it's just me. I was scared to gloat because I figured the more I gloated, the worse Brian (Orser, who won the silver) would feel. And I felt good enough inside myself, so I didn't need to show it on the exterior. He was crying when I hugged him, those hiccuped cries.

After we were both on the medal stand, I kind of wanted him to look back at me so i could say with my eyes, "You've felt this way before (winning), so it's nothing you're missing". So it was kind of trying to reassure him.

After a party, it was 2 a.m., and the dining hall at the Plympic Village was closed. So we went to Denny's.

Well, I knew I wasn't going to get into Denny's in my USA worm-ups without being noticed. So they had to sneak us in the fire exit at the back door and put us in the corner. It didn't work. People were constantly coming over.

It was the funniest thing that ever happened. People werre in there in droves, you wouldn't believe it. i think that's the prime time, 3 a.m.

We thought we were being so cool, getting in the fire exit and sitting in the corner. But it din't stop anyone.

I had a hamberger and french fries and a milkshake. Something that I'd wanted for a long time. i don't eat beef usually, but sometimes i get a real craving. This was my breakdown.

From Denny's, after eatting and signing autographs, we went back to the Olympic Village. But instead of sleeping, I sorted out all my cards.

I took the cards out of hte flowers, put the flowers in water. My roommate Peter Oppegard (bronze medal winner in figure skating pairs) couldn't sleep either, so we talked a little bit at 4 in he morning.

He just said something really simple. He was actually asleep when I walked in he room, but he turned over and said, "Congratulations." And I said, "Thanks." And he goes, "It was a great skate." That meant more to me than anything.

My parents are as close as they can be. But my coach Linda Leaver is a part of me.

It's amazing that every goal we've wanted to reach we have. It makes you feel so powerful. I couldn't have done it without her help.

I was dying when I was skating (Saturday) night just to look over the rail and smile at her - to see if she knew exacally what was happening. I couldn't.

I knew I was on. I just knew that she knew. It's just sort of an amazing connction we have.

I only feel her energy from that corner, and my energy on the ice. The only thing that exists is that ice, me and Linda, until I'm done.

I stayed in the dressing room until I knew for sure that I'd won. And then I really didn't get to share it with her too much because there were hordes of people when I walked out. Cameras, Dorothy Hamill, Bruce Jenner, Katarina Witt, everybody was there to congratulate me. So there really wasn't a private moment with Linda.

With my parents, we just kissed and hugged. They didn't have to say anything. It was emotional in the sense that my whole family was there, that my brothers and sisters were there to share it with them.

It's going to be different when I go home. It's kind of scary thinking about what it's going to be like when I get back to San Francisco, wondering if I'll be able to slip in and out of everywhere without being recognized. I worry about privacy, about always being on show. "Brian Boitano seen drinking a wine."

One other thing I'm worried about. I'm suppose to be in court in Oakland on the 26th for a speeding ticket, but I'm not getting back home until the 28th. It was my first ticket. i was just going to tellthem that Iwas driving to practice, and I was in a hurry to get there.