Champion Brazilian diver Ian Matos has come out publicly as gay in an interview with the newspaper Correio.
“From a young age, I knew I was gay, but it was here that I got to live my sexuality,” said Matos.
Matos, 24, said that although a friend advised him to stay closeted until after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, he did not want to withstand the the pressure of hiding boyfriends, avoiding gay parties and not being himself.
He said he was inspired by British diver Tom Daley, who had recently announced he was in a relationship with another man, and that he hopes coming out wouldn’t affect his future in the sport or any possible sponsorships.
“I don’t think it will hinder me, but I can’t just think that the world agrees with me,” he said.
Matos, originally from Pennsylvania, relocated to Brazil to pursue his diving career and now resides in Rio.
He was the Brazilian 3-meter champion in 2013 and won a bronze medal in 2012 during an event in the U.S, according to Outsports.com.