You turned pro just after you became a U.S. national champion, in 1996. Does watching the Olympics ever make you wish you’d gone?
No. I could have jeopardized all my pro contracts if I had waited. And I hated skating in front of judges. I had to be this all-American skater, and I just wanted to be flamboyant.
Speaking of flamboyant, your website has a picture of you skating in all black and wearing a giant red ribbon.
That was soon after I turned pro. I didn’t test positive until 2000, but my brother had just died of AIDS. I dedicated it to him and my two coaches, who also died of AIDS. I was going to wear a regular red ribbon, but the arena held 15,000 people. No one would have seen it!
Has having HIV ever affected your skating?
I work out now more than ever before, and I’m about to go on a 100-city tour with Champions on Ice. I had a double hip replacement due to problems that may have been caused by my medication. But I’m strong-willed. I paid out of my pocket for physical therapy two times a day for three months to get back.
You’ve been open about your status. Why wouldn’t an athlete disclose?
It might be different in contact sports, where you’re pouncing on each other. But when I came out, people were really educated and supportive. Discrimination shouldn’t keep anyone in the closet. They can speak publicly and help people.
Do you know any positive athletes afraid to disclose?
So you’re a handsome pro skater. Are you dating anyone?
No. It’s frustrating sometimes. When I go out with friends, I don’t know if it’s because of the spotlight or my disease, but people tend to keep their distance. If I get depressed about anything—I call it my “man period”—the love of my friends and family gets me through.
Breaking The Ice
Rudy Galindo never went to the winter Olympics. But neither that—nor HIV—has ever held him back.