Finnish Olympic swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen has come out of the closet. Luikkonen says the timing was very important to him because he wants to raise awareness about Russia’s anti-gay laws ahead of the Sochi Games. Via YLE:
“I wanted to start a broader discussion in connection with Sochi, because it’s sad that the legislation in Russia restricts the human rights of young people and others,” Liukkonen told Yle.
Liukkonen added that the Finnish sporting world was also in need of a more open attitude to sexuality.
“In the future I would hope that elite athletes and other people will not find homosexuality to be any kind of news,” said Liukkonen…
“As the matter wasn’t discussed, I tried to forget about it, but during high school I began to accept that I am made this way,” said Liukkonen. “Acceptance hasn’t necessarily been easy, but it hasn’t been horribly difficult either. This has been a long, slow process for me, but now I’m there.”
Aside from the fact that the immature 5-year old in me cannot WAIT to hear a British newscasters pronounce “Ari-Pekka”, this is obviously a great really thing for Liukkonen to do while at the games — particularly while still active in his sport! Congratulations to Ari-Pekka! And thanks for repping right in Putin‘s face. Face palm, Putin!
“It’s a really great feeling that I can finally be myself.”