Did you watch figure skating during the Sochi Winter Olympics? If you did, you’re sure to have seen Eric Radford and his partner Meagan Duhamel as they took the silver medal in the pairs free skate program. But now at age 29, Radford has decided to come out just days after the Canadian Olympic Committee announced its #OneTeam initiative to promote LGBT acceptance by having athletes talk about the issue in schools across the country. He hopes to use his stature as an athlete to help young gay people. Radford’s sexual orientation has been known by family and friends and he’s in a long-term relationship. But he says the timing for his decision wasn’t coincidental. In an interview with Scott Stinson of o.canada.com he said that “At first I was like, ‘I don’t even understand why I have to come out because I just feel like it should be a non-issue, but then I thought about it some more and I just realized that the only way to normalize it is to do it.” He grew up in the small community of Red Lake, Ontario and was the target of lots of bullying. Radford relates that he had a lisp and was teased, called names and the target of gay slurs. Stinson reports that even now, it’s very difficult for Radford to talk about it. He thought about coming before Sochi but decided against it because he didn’t want to “face of the controversy” while he still had a competition to skate. He was also concerned that it would impact his marks as a skater, something that he now says he’s less stressed about. Radford says, “I am who I am. I can’t change who I am.” Radford has had the complete support of his skating partner Duhamel in his decision to come out but he says it wasn’t a team decision. “It’s our career together, but it’s my life.” However, they plan to compete up through the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Powered by Compete partner, Axiom for Men.  Please visit their website at www.axiomformen.com. [adrotate banner=”35″]