Brazilian diver Ian Matos came out of the closet as a gay man in a recent interview with the Portuguese-language newspaper Correio, citing Olympic diver Tom Daley as his motivation.
“From a young age, I knew I was gay, but it was here that I got to live my sexuality,” said Matos, who is now living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, according to a translation of his interview on OutSports.
The 24-year-old athlete said friends advised him to remain in the closet until after the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. However, the athlete said he felt the increasing pressure of having to keep his sexuality a secret—hiding boyfriends and avoiding gay parties.
He also acknowledged that he was inspired to be open about his identity after British Olympic diver Tom Daley announced in December he was dating a man, who was later revealed to be Oscar-winning “Milk” screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.
Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Matos moved to Rio de Janeiro to pursue his diving career and became the Brazilian three-meter champion in 2013.
Matos says he hopes being an out athlete will not cost him potential sponsorships in the future, or impact his ability to be a successful diver.