World champion and Olympic pole vaulter Shawn Barber on Monday announced in a Facebook post that he is “gay and proud.”
“Gay and proud!” Barber wrote. “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!”
Barber, 22, is the current reigning world champion in pole vaulting, a title he earned at the 2015 World Championships in Athletics in Beijing, China with a stunning 5.90 meters jump. He is among the 21 athletes in the “six meters club,” which consists of pole vaulters who have reached at least 6 meters. He finished 10th at last year's Rio Summer Olympics.
Born in Canada, Barber holds U.S. and Canadian citizenship. He graduated from high school in Houston and attended the University of Akron in Ohio.
According to Outsports, Barber's announcement makes him “one of the highest-profile and most successful current openly gay athletes in the world.”
Besides his 3AM Facebook post, Barber has not made any additional comments on social media or to the media about his sexuality.