Closet door bustdown

Olympic gold medalist Kerron Clement comes out

 

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Star Olympian Kerron Clement made headlines on National Coming Out Day when he, you guessed it, came out as gay.

The Trinidadian-American track athlete told Out he was “tired of loving in the dark.”

“I have been through what a lot of people have been through which is being afraid of being who you are,” he said. “I struggled with my sexuality for 17 years. Over time, as you get older, you care less. Now it’s time to just be yourself and be free. That’s what I’ve become, free.”

Related: Hockey star Jon Lee-Olson comes out of the closet on live TV

Clement has long been a vocal supporter of inclusivity in athletics. The decorated Olympian, who took home gold medals at both the 2008 and 2016 Games, is one of several sports stars featured in the Nike BETRUE campaign.

He said that participating in the campaign, which champions the inclusion of all kinds of identities in sports, helped him find the courage to go public with his coming out.

“I have a global brand backing me,” he said. “It’s absolutely amazing. I wish all companies would do [what Nike does].”

He took to Instagram to share a rainbow flag over the weekend, along with the hashtags #pride, #gay, #befree and #betrue:

While Clement says it was especially difficult to tell his family, he’s ultimately found acceptance on and off the field.

A record 66 athletes at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro were openly gay, lesbian or bisexual. That number was nearly double the representation of the 2012 Summer Games.

Related: PHOTOS: Meet Alec Smith, the CrossFit athlete who just burst out of the closet

Here’s more from Clement’s Instagram:

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Are you naughty or nice? ?? ? @Neelioparis

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