Dutch rower Maarten Hurkmans came out as bisexual last week. The 22-year-old who won athletic and academic recognition as a student-athlete rower at the University of California, Berkeley, made the announcement in an Instagram post.
"I am also bisexual, something that I consider to be an important part of who I am," Hurkmans announced while also revealing he "can be the absolute worst morning person."
Hurkmans was an academic and athletic standout at UC Berkeley. As a freshman he was a member of the 2016 team that won both a Pac-12 and an Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship. As a sophomore, he took home IRA All-Academic honors and was a First Team All-Academic Pac-12 selection, and was selected again as an IRA All-Academic as a junior. Hurkmans also medaled as part of various Dutch national teams, and was expected to row in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics until they were postponed.
The native of Amersfoort, The Netherlands, credits his parents for creating the home environment that encouraged him to embrace and nurture his true self while growing up.
"I am very lucky to have brought up by amazing parents in an open and accepting environment, and luckily, I have never experienced my sexuality as much of a burden," he revealed.
Stating that he is proud of who he is and what he has accomplished at an elite level of competition, Hurkmans understands he is a role model to other closeted athletes, something he embraces. He hopes his post shows that there is "nothing to be ashamed of."
"Identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community does not make you less masculine, or able to compete and win," Hurkmans explained.