Tongan swimmer Amini Fonua says he's been surprised by the wide interest since coming out as gay in his campus newspaper.
The 23 year old was the Tongan flag-bearer at last year's London Olympics, where he competed in the men's 100 metre breaststroke.
The Texas A&M graduate made his announcement in his campus newspaper, The Battallion, where he also defended the school against accusations of homophobia.
Fonua says the announcement barely rated a mention on campus and admits he never expected such a big big response.
"The article itself was a favour to a friend in my creative writing class and it turned out to be a cover story and then went pretty international pretty quickly. Had no intentions of it getting as big as it was and didn't really see it as much of a coming out story because I've sort of been out to my closest friends and most of my immediate family for about five years now."
Amini's announcement comes just over a week after US basketballer Jason Collins became the first active athlete in the history of the four major US professional sports to come out.