Four time Olympic gold medallist Charline Labonte has announced that she is gay in an online statement.

Speaking to OurSports, the Canadian women’s hockey goalie said: “I am gay and proudly authentic”.

She struck gold at the Sochi winter games in February, where her girlfriend speed skater Anastasia Buscis was also competing.

Labonte said she was swept off her feet after meeting Anastasia through a mutual friend at a dinner.

Anastasia took me completely by surprise and I could not pass up a wonderful person like her.”

On Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws she said: “The idea of not being completely free during the Games left me with a bitter taste.”

Despite being out to her team-mates, Labonte has kept her sexuality very private.

“Everyone on my team has known I’m gay since I can remember and I never felt degraded for it.”

Charline is due to finish her master’s degree in physical education later this year.

Labonte’s girlfriend, long skater speed skater Anastasia Bucsis announced last year that she was joining forces with Athletes Ally a nonprofit organisation that seeks to promote respect for individuals involved in sports regardless of their sexual orientation.

She recently released a public statement saying that she was “so proud to be gay” ahead of the Sochi games, and attacked the country’s gay propaganda law.