aariFinnish Olympic swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen has come out as gay.

Liukkonen said that he had chosen to speak about his sexuality now to “start a broader discussion in connection with Sochi”.

He competed at the London 2012 Olympics and won a bronze medal at the 2012 European Championships.

“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.

He continued: “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.”

He becomes the first Finnish athlete to reveal that he is gay while still participating in competitive sport.

Liukkonen added that his family “received the news positively”, and were not surprised by his news.

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