“i want to be the best me. and to be the best me, i have to fully embrace who i am,” says olympian markus thormeyer (@lilmarquenis ), a 23-year-old competitive swimmer and student at the university of british columbia.
while training with team canada for the 2016 rio olympics, markus came out to his teammates.
“i wasn’t being who i am, even to some of my closest friends,” he says. “i didn’t want to go to the olympics and not be me because then i wouldn’t perform to the best that i could.”
markus credits coming out with making him more confident and focused, both in and out of the pool.
“it just felt easier, living felt easier every day. you don’t realize how much it adds up until after when you don’t have to do it anymore. you’re like, ‘wow, i have the energy to be me.’”
earlier this year, markus shared his story to inspire other young athletes to embrace their authentic selves.
“i was always looking for role models growing up. when i did find a story about a g*y athlete it was inspiring,” he says. “if one g*y kid reads my story and is inspired, that’d be a win for me.”
in honor of #nationalcomingoutday, we’re sharing markus’ story as we continue to celebrate members of the lgbtq+ community who #sharewithpride. 🏊♂️🌈✨
photo of @lilmarquenis by @emilyoverholt