Finnish Olympic swimmer comes out to highlight Russia’s anti-gay laws

Ari-Pekka Liukkonen swam in the London Olympics and took the bronze in 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, the Finnish Broadcasting Company.

Liukkonen competed in the London Olympics and won bronze for the 4x50m mixed freestyle relay at the 2012 European Championships.

He’s the first Finnish athlete to come out, while still participating in sport.

‘Acceptance hasn’t necessarily been easy, but it hasn’t been horribly difficult either,’ Liukkonen said. ‘This has been a long, slow process for me, but now I’m there.’

The 24-year-old told his sister two years ago. Last month he called his parents.

‘My family has received the news positively, and everyone has supported me,’ said Liukkonen. ‘Actually they had already sensed that I am like this.’

Presently he’s training for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, aiming for a gold in the 50 meter freestyle.

by James WithersS
Source – Gay Star News