Olympic judo player Rafaela Silva has come out publicly, just days after becoming Brazil’s first gold medal winner at Rio 2016.

She won her medal in the 57k (125 pounds) category in women’s judo on Monday (August 8), tweeting afterwards: “ITS GOLD! The walk to here was tough, but it was worth it. Much thanks for the messages of support and by the crowd.”

In an interview with Globo Sports published yesterday (August 10), the 24-year-old decided to follow her gold with another personal victory, and publicly acknowledge her sexuality for the first time.

Revealing that she has been in a three-year relationship with her partner Thamara Cezar, who is also Rafaela’s press agent and social media manager, Silva said: “She was there every day and knew how I was feeling, when I was sick and when I wasn’t.

“Everything I needed, she was there to do it, so she is also very important in this victory.”

The announcement raises the record number of openly LGBT athletes competing in Rio to 48, according to Outsports. Silva regularly uploads pictures of herself and Thamara on Instagram.  The pair has three dogs, who they call their ‘kids’.

A photo posted by Rafaela Silva (@rafaelasilvaa) on

 

Team GB proudly boasts the highest number of openly LGBT athletes of any competing nation, with eight. Check out when and where you can see them in action here.

Words: Mark Richards

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