Canadian Olympic swimmer Markus
Thormeyer publicly came out as gay in an emotional essay published
Thormeyer competed in the 4 x 100
freestyle relay team at the 2016 Olympics.
In his essay, Thormeyer, 22, said that
his “secret” held him back when he started training with his team
“I wanted to keep it a secret that I
was gay for multiple reasons. I was scared they wouldn't accept me. I
did not want to create drama in the training group. I didn't know how
they would react. I was scared of negative responses,” he
“I would feel a bit sad because they
weren't getting to know the real me, just some surface-level shell I
It became “progressively harder every
day” to keep his secret.
“Some days I dreaded going to the
pool in fear that my sexuality would be exposed. … Having to deal
with that was awful. Every day felt like a threat and not an
Thormeyer said that he eventually had
an emotional breakdown and decided to casually come out to his
teammates, who accepted him.
“Feeling safe in my training
environment and having no distractions allowed me to push myself to
new limits in the pool,” he wrote. “Training with them fostered
relationships that will last a lifetime.”
“Life is much better when you fully
embrace you for who you are,” he added.