Top Brazilian diver Ian Matos has revealed that he was inspired by British diver Tom Daley’s coming out video to also open up about his sexuality.
The 24-year-old Brazilian 3-meter champion was born in the city of Belém, but now lives in Rio de Janeiro where he is pursuing his diving career.
“From a young age, I knew I was gay, but it is here that I’ve gotten to live my sexuality,” Matos told the Correio Braziliense newspaper.
He said that he had been advised by a friend to stay in the closet until after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio so that he wouldn’t lose any sponsorship.
However, Daley’s December YouTube video, in which he told the world about his relationship with another man, helped Matos change his mind.
“I don’t think [coming out] will hinder me,” he said “but I also can’t believe that the whole world will agree with me”.
Matos explained that being in the closet meant that he couldn’t attend gay parties and had to hide his boyfriends, which had taken its toll on him.
“It seems that being gay means that you are often forced to start at level below everyone else,” he said.
The diving world now has three openly gay or bisexual male stars. In addition to Matos and Daley, Australian Olympic champion Matthew Mitcham came out as gay in 2008.