Canadian Olympian Charline Labonte on Wednesday came out gay.

“I am gay and proudly authentic,” the 31-year-old Labonte said in an op-ed published at and

The former goaltender for the McGill Martlets ice hockey team won Olympic gold for the fourth straight time at the Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia earlier this year.

Labonte said playing in Russia, which recently approved a number of anti-gay laws, put a strain on the team.

“The new Russian laws, including the anti-gay 'propaganda' laws, created a malaise that was felt by most people around me, gay or straight,” she said. “Were we afraid? Of course! Were we in danger? No idea. We never had the intention to protest or talk about being gay. We were in Sochi for a single reason and that was to compete at the highest level of our capacities. We worked too hard to let any outside distractions separate us from our ultimate dream.”

Labonte said her teammates knew she was gay: “Everyone on my team has known I'm gay since I can remember and I never felt degraded for it. On the contrary, my sport and my team are the two environments where I feel most comfortable.”

“I am ... proud of who I am and proud to have the courage to share who I am with you. I'm a four-time Olympian. I am the daughter of wonderful parents and the sister of a very special brother. I am friends with people who fascinate me, support me and without whom I could not live out my dreams. I am a student and I get my masters from McGill University this fall,” she added.