World champion and Olympic pole vaulter, the 22-year-old Shawn Barber, came out publicly as gay on a Facebook post yesterday, writing that he is “Gay and Proud.”
Shawn, who used to split his time between Canada and the US, is the current reigning world champion in pole vaulting. In 2016 he became the youngest man to ever vault 6 meters.
On a public Facebook post he wrote yesterday, Shawn thanks his parents and his friends for their support of him and his sexual orientation.
Gay and proud! Thank you to my parents for being such a great support. I continue to grow as a person and have a great support group. My parents are my greatest support and have helped me through a lot recently. To my friends, you are always my friends and i love you too!
As of this writing, Shawn’s message received more than 1,500 reactions and many positive comments, though no further messages or comments were written by Shawn himself.
With many athletes still choosing to stay in the closet, Shawn’s move is a very welcome act.