BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – "I feel everyone is really craving [for] people to come out," US soccer star Megan Rapinoe told Out Magazine in July.
This, prior to her team's gold-medal-winning performance against Japan Aug 9.
"People want — they need — to see that there are people like me playing soccer for the good ol' U S of A," she said in the pre-Olympics interview. Rapinoe is among at least 23 openly gay athletes at the 2012 London Games, which come to an end tomorrow, Aug 12.
"For the record, I'm gay," she told Out. Rapinoe's sexuality was not a secret, at least not to her family and friends, and she feels it's important for people to have role models, she told NBC.
While she feels the sporting arena, generally speaking, is still homophobic in that not a lot of people are out, Rapinoe points to women's teams as more accepting. "In female sports, if you're gay, most likely your team knows it pretty quickly," Rapinoe observed, adding that it's still not as easy for men to be out.
Off the field, but not too far from it, she's been in a relationship with an Australian soccer player for three years.
Her fans are enthusiastic, to put it mildly. Out magazine notes that one German man tattooed Rapinoe's likeness on his calf.
Rapinoe's reaction: "I'm cute, but I'm not that cute."
And Rapinoe has her own obsession, as she puts it: actress Tilda Swinton, who has this "strange, beautiful sexiness about her," she says.
Read Rapinoe's full interview with Out.