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Finnish Olympic Swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen Comes Out

em12_pre_ap2Olympic swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen has made sports history as the first Finnish athlete to come out publicly as gay while still active in his career. Liukkonen, who competed in the 2012 Olympics in London and took a bronze medal at the European Championships the same year, says he decided to come out to raise awareness for Russia’s antigay laws ahead of the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, reports Finnish news site 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 said about his decision.

Liukkonen added that he hopes his coming out will lead to a more open attitude about sexual orientation in sports and that eventually it will no longer be considered news. “Homosexuality is the same kind of characteristic as whether a person has blue or brown eyes, or whether they are left- or right-handed,” he offered.

The swimmer came out to his family gradually over the past two years and said their response was very encouraging.

“My family has received the news positively, and everyone has supported me,” Liukkonen revealed, adding that they had already sensed that he’s gay.

“It’s a really great feeling that I can finally be myself,” he shared.

Liukkonen has suffered from mycoplasma for the past two years, but is optimistic about competing in the Rio Olympic games in 2016.

On:           Feb 2, 2014
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    • DShucking

      Good timing.

      Feb 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mikah


      Feb 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      Good for him!

      And in honor of Coke’s defending the Coke Logo wearing security attacking and arresting a man for holding a rainbow flag, here is an updated version of Coke’s classic commercial.

      Feb 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Niall

      Gonna start watching Swimming/Diving/Gymnastics more, they seem to have the hottest guys by far.

      Feb 2, 2014 at 2:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stefano

      Who cares ?

      Feb 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dsp

      @Stefano, Well I for one do! So GFY! If you do not care, why post?

      Feb 2, 2014 at 6:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr

      @Stefano: Your Dad does.

      Feb 2, 2014 at 6:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lyceius

      @Stefano: you must…

      Feb 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • balehead

      Gay Athletes coming out are better than a million queens because people respect them more…

      Feb 2, 2014 at 11:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Respect4all

      @balehead: I have respect for all, athletes and queens alike. And maybe athlete queens.

      Feb 3, 2014 at 1:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mel

      – bronze medal at the European Championships
      – no swim events in the Winter Olympics
      – most people writing xenophobic crap about Russia have never set foot in the country
      – just as difficult to grow up gay in say… South Korea… but hey lets hate on Russia because everyone else is doing it
      – non story

      Feb 3, 2014 at 5:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jimbryant

      Ari Pekka comes across as wonderful. Finland is not as progressive legally on gay rights as other Scandinavian countries.

      Scandinavian countries, for the most part, are advanced legally but not so much socially. Law is often ahead of society.

      Feb 3, 2014 at 6:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stefano

      @Mel : exactly !

      Feb 3, 2014 at 7:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scribe38

      Queerty is suddenly infested with the dirtiest, nastiest, trolls. I really don’t mind the trolls spouting off stupid sh*t about “women controlling the world” or “everyone knows blacks are the most anti-gay people in the world”. Everyone knows that these posters are little pieces of sh*t with no lives and no relationships. What is beginning to bug me however are these as*h*les spouting off about Russia as if there isn’t a concerted effort there lead by the government to harm homosexuals. Laws against gay people should be fought against no matter where they appear, here, Russia, Nigeria, etc. Trolls just grab a rope and do yourself in, if you can’t find a better way to spend your time.

      Feb 3, 2014 at 10:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • crowebobby

      @Cam: Very moving. Wish there were some way to get that played on every TV station in America.

      Feb 3, 2014 at 10:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billysees


      “I have respect for all….”

      Good comment.

      Feb 3, 2014 at 10:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam


      No, actually Mel, you’re a liar, but I get it, the Olympic trolls are still trying. Not only is Russias law making it illegal to even hold somebody’s hand, but the cops are refusing to prosecute people who have kidnapped and tortured gays, and even uploaded the videos saying that the gays probably wanted it.

      So nice try.

      Feb 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mel


      Have you visited Russia? Didn’t think so.

      I ain’t claiming it’s the best place to be an out gay person. Poland isn’t a LGBT paradise either and Poland is in the European Union. Conservative people, conservative cultures – but it’s like that in most parts of the world.

      Go to Russia – and not just St Petersburg and Moscow. It’s an interesting place. Find out the truth. These individual stories aren’t lies but the big picture everyone is building up is lie. Sochi is a fun place.

      Feb 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scribe38

      @Mel: right go to a country where I can be arrested for who I love. Go to a country where a young man died from bottles being shoved into him? Where men are lured online and beat. Really, why the f*ck would I want to go there. Just like Nigeria or Jamaica, why spend your money to be abused and harmed? Watch the posted video on queerty about how gays are abused in Russia and tell me again why I should ever f*cking go there.

      Feb 3, 2014 at 3:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MK Ultra

      In Russian culture of violence and death, the term “gay propaganda” is actually doublespeak for gay demonization. The laws are meant to build up so much hate against LGBT, that ANY atrocity can be justified against them. And we all know that any atrocity will be! Remember, bloodthirsty Russians have already cheered the suggestion that gay people be burned alive in ovens. Russia is Nazi Germany.
      Russia is much times worse than Poland or South Korea. The big picture about Russia is that it’s infinitely times worse than we already suspect.
      Everything else is lies. The attempts to minimize Russia’s Ultra-hate – lies. The attempts to deflect attention away from Russia’s hate – disgusting.

      Feb 4, 2014 at 2:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mel

      @Scribe38: Watch the video

      Yeah I see videos all the time about mass shootings in America, homeless people starving to death on the streets, meth and crack addicts everywhere, gay hate epidemic in New York. Horrible place. I know because I saw a news clip on youtube.

      @MK Ultra: Russia is much times worse than Poland.

      Poland isn’t hell on earth but neither is Russia. Poland has neo-nazi gangs as well but they attack dark-skin foreigners. Is that why LGBT sites only write about neo-nazis in Russia?

      Visit the country. Anti-Russian racism isn’t doing anything to help gay Russians.

      Feb 4, 2014 at 6:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MK Ultra

      @Mel: “Visit the country. Anti-Russian racism isn’t doing anything to help gay Russians”
      It’s instructive how Russia is rushing to kill their gays and here you’ve spinned the situation to “racism against Russia”
      No. Actually. Pointing out EXACTLY what goes on in Russia is not racism.
      As to your suggestion to visit the country, do you promise that they will treat foreign gays the exact same way they treat their native ones?
      “Is that why LGBT sites only write about neo-nazis in Russia?”
      Perhaps because this site is and LGBT news site?
      Russia is hell on Earth. A second world kleptocracy that is on the Nazi Germany trial with regards to its gay citizens.
      The fact that all you’ve got is deflection, downplaying, and the sick suggestion that western gays go to Russia to get beaten, suggests you are nothing but a troll, trying to cover for Russia.

      Feb 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mel

      @MK Ultra

      Have you ever left your home state? Do you even own a passport?

      If you don’t want to go to Russia, try Ukraine. Similar beach resorts just along the coast from Sochi. Don’t count on Ukrainians being vastly more gay-friendly – even though they are the darlings of the western press for standing up to Putin’s Russia.

      Feb 5, 2014 at 5:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MK Ultra

      @Mel: Actually my ethnicity is Ukrainian, and I still don’t plan to go there.
      I’m still not sure why you’re trolling for Russia – violent, second world, viciously anti-gay kleptocracy.
      Are you even gay, or just some troll trying to downplay Russia’s ultra-violence?

      Feb 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mel

      @MK Ultra

      Your ethnicity… right.

      I’m not trolling for Russia. I’m just don’t think anybody gains (least of all gay Russians) from fighting homophobia with xenophobia.

      Feb 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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