Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon looked back on his coming out journey in an op-ed celebrating National Coming Out Day (October 11).

Rippon, 30, came out gay in 2015. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Rippon won a bronze medal as part of the figure skating team event. Following the Olympics, Rippon announced his retirement from competitive figure skating.

In his op-ed, Rippon said that he “gained a family” when he came out.

“When I finally told my friends and family that I was gay, even if to them nothing was different, to me it felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders,” Rippon said. “Everyone was very supportive; I was never made to feel different or that I wasn't equal to the people in my life. I know that isn't the story for a lot of LGBTQ+ people.”

“In my preparation for the 2018 games, I wanted to do things differently. I had already failed to qualify for an Olympics twice, so I really had nothing to lose. I came out in my sporting life in 2015, the year after the Olympics. There were no other out athletes in my sport. It felt like something I had to do. If this was the thing that kept me off the Olympic team for a third time, that was okay. It was more important to me than that. I did it for the younger version of myself that felt so uncomfortable in their own skin for so long. I didn't want another young kid to feel the way I did.”

“All these moments led to the incredible experiences I had in 2018. Being able to represent my country at the Olympics was such a huge honor and a dream come true. Being able to do that as an out athlete, being totally myself, was liberating.”

“Since my coming out I've also met some of the most inspiring people I've ever known. I've realized that when you are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, you gain a family.”

“It does get better. Not immediately and sometimes not quickly, but it does. You are stronger than you think. You are braver than you know. And you are very loved,” he wrote.