Karine Jean-Pierre
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Gay Olympic Diving Star Ian Matos Is Dead at 32

Ian Matos

Gay Brazilian Olympic diver Ian Matos died earlier this week following a non-COVID-related lung infection. He was 32.

Matos had spent the last two months in the hospital fighting the infection until his death on December 21, according to The Independent.

The diver won three bronze medals in the 2010 South American Games. He placed eighth in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where he competed in the men’s synchronized three-meter springboard with his diving partner Luiz Outerelo.

“We are profoundly saddened to have received the news of the premature death of the Olympic diver Ian Matos, aged just 32,” Brazil’s Olympic Committee said in a statement, according to the outlet. “Team Brazil acknowledges his contribution to the evolution of the discipline.”

“Our sincere condolences to his family and friends,” the statement continued.

The Olympian had sought medical care due to an infection in his throat that eventually spread throughout his body, reports British tabloid newspaper The Sun.

Matos came out in 2014. The diver lost some sponsors afterward. He previously said that it was Tom Daley’s coming out in 2013 that inspired him to do the same. Matos also said that he wanted to live free without concerns of people finding out about his relationships or the clubs he went to.

“From a young age, I knew I was gay, but it was here that I got to live my sexuality,” Matos said at the time, referring to his new home of Rio, OutSports reports.

In 2014, the climate for queer athletes was very different than today. During the 2016 Rio Games, a then-record-breaking 56 athletes were out. In last summer’s Tokyo Olympics there are at least 186 out athletes.

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