An Olympic kayak hopeful has discussed coming out as gay, saying it was a relief, and that he had an overwhelmingly positive reaction.

Connor Taras, 25, missed joining the 2012 Canadian Olympic team by half a second, and still travels to the US every winter for training.

He said being gay but not out meant the time off the water, spent with other team members, were tough.

“That’s when I found it really hard to hide who I actually was. It was a constant game, from the minute I woke up, to the minute I went to sleep,” he said.

Discussing how he lost his confidence, and his training and performance suffered, Taras decided last year to come out, telling his friends first then his family.

After coming out in the Toronto Star, Taras said he had received messages from around the world.

“It’s OK to be homosexual in sport and still compete at the highest level,” he said.

He said he feels relieved not to be carrying a secret around.

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