US soccer star and Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe has said other athletes should come out and be open about their sexuality.
Rapinoe, a midfielder on the US women’s soccer team who won gold on Thursday (9 August), told reporters about her sexuality just before London 2012.
In an interview with Out Magazine, she said: ‘I feel like sports in general are still homophobic, in the sense that not a lot of people are out.
‘I feel everyone is really craving people to come out.
‘People want — they need — to see that there are people like me playing soccer for the good ol’ U.S. of A.’
The 27-year-old says she decided to go public about being a lesbian to empower other members of the LGBT community.
Out of over 11,000 athletes across the world competing in the Olympic Games, only 20 women and three men are openly gay.
Speaking to NBC Nightly News, she said young kids look up to athletes and it is important for them to have role models.
She said: ‘I feel like having someone for others to look up to would be pretty cool for them.
‘I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong with me, I feel like actually I’m pretty special.’
Rapinoe was an integral part of the US team, helping with four assists and scoring three goals.