Three-time Olympian and volleyball superstar Stacy Sykora has come out as a lesbian.
In an interview with the Italian volleyball magazine Pallavolioamo, she said she has a girlfriend and is happy with her life.
Sykora said: ‘I don’t hide anymore. I finished wearing a mask only because I am a strong player who took part in the Olympic Games.
‘I have both good sides and weaknesses and as I do not hide myself on court, I don’t hide myself in love anymore either. I have a girlfriend and I’m happy with her now.’
‘I am sorry if someone has a problem with it and doesn’t accept my homosexuality, but I’m happy and that is the most important thing.
Sykora, who was part of the USA Olympic team that won a silver medal in the Beijing Games 2008, was seriously injured in a bus accident in 2011.
The accident occurred when she was playing for a Brazilian volleyball team Volei Futuro, and as a result she suffered from a brain injury and was in a coma for three days.
The 35-year-old sports star has the date of the accident tattooed over her heart, and cites it as the reason why she decided to come out.
‘Before the accident I had other girlfriends, but in the past I tended to hide it,’ Sykora said. ‘This is the first time I have said it openly. I have a girlfriend but that does not prevent me from being a good player or a good person.’
Since the accident Sykora has continued to compete in volleyball, and is currently playing in Italy for Urbino.