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“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
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