Canadian Olympic speed skater Anastasia Bucsis came out as gay at last weekend’s Calgary Pride parade to support other gay athletes at the Sochi Olympic Games, The Globe and Mail reports.
The 24-year-old, who has been out to family and friends for a couple years, decided she needed to go public.
“I could never promote that message of concealing who you are with all of this going on in Russia,” she said. Bucsis hopes to qualify for long-track speed skating and compete in Sochi in 2014.
Bucsis is one of only a few openly gay Olympic athletes. As Xtra reported in our cover story on gay Olympians last year, there were only six openly gay Olympians at the Winter Games in Vancouver and 25 in London's Summer Games.
The few gay athletes in Sochi will need all the support they can get. New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup, who trains in Canada, told Xtra in July that he would wear a rainbow pin in Sochi, and “if that gets me in trouble, then so be it.”
Bucsis ranked 34th in women’s 500-metre speed skating at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.