Canadian swimmer Markus Thormeyer just came out of the closet.
The 22-year-old Olympic swimmer, who competed in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay team in the 2016 Olympics, recently shared his coming out story in a personal essay. Writing the story for OutSports, Thormeyer shared that he first felt ashamed of his sexuality while living as an athlete.
“Creating these intimate bonds with my teammates was amazing, but it also made me feel guilty at the same time.” he wrote. “They were exposing their most raw essence in the pool every day, but I would come to the pool emotionally guarded and not do the same. Following every interaction with my teammates, I would feel a bit sad because they weren’t getting to know the real me, just some surface-level shell I fabricated.”
Over time, Thormeyer couldn’t take the pressure and fear any longer. He decided to come out to this teammates. Thankfully, they responded with praise and acceptance.
“Knowing that I had such amazing teammates supporting me so strongly regardless of my sexual orientation was one of the best feelings in the world. With this amazing group of people, I finally felt at ease and at home. No one made a scene, and everyone accepted me for who I was. I was treated the same way as before I came out and I felt great about it. There was no drama and it was exactly what I wanted.”
In his personal essay, Thormeyer added that he noticed an improvement in his swimming after coming out. For instance, he won gold in the 200-meter backstroke and bronze in the 100-meter backstroke while competing at the FINA Champions Swim Series in China.
Now, Markus Thormeyer wants to create visibility for gay athletes in the dual worlds of sport and swimming.
“I want to share my story and be able to spread the message that it’s OK to be gay. Life is much better when you fully embrace you for who you are.”
We want to thank Tormeyer for creating more visibility for gay athletes coming up behind him and the many sports fans watching. We hope the best for him in his personal and professional lives.