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Openly gay rower Robbie Manson qualifies for 2016 Summer Olympics

The New Zealand rower and his doubles partner Chris Harris are heading to Rio.

Robbie Manson, left, and Chris Harris took bronze at the World Rowing Championships
Robbie Manson, left, and Chris Harris took bronze at the World Rowing Championships

Robbie Manson, a rower from New Zealand who came out as gay a year ago, qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics when he and doubles sculls partner Chris Harris took the bronze medal at the World Rowing Championships in France. Manson posted this on Facebook:

Bronze medalists at World Champs!!! I hardly believe it. After an up and down season, getting on the plane having not rowed for 6 weeks because of injury, missing World Cup 2 and catching a crab in Lucerne, it feels so good to finish on a high. Bring on Rio next year!

Special thanks to all my physios Kate Polson, Melissa Gilbertson and Craig Newlands and massage therapists Toni Vince, Caroline Daly and Seah Taylor for getting me back in the boat and keeping me there!

For those who don't know what "catching a crab" means, it's not a parasite of some sort. As the Urban Dictionary says: "It means to put one's oar in the water at the wrong time which results in the oar flipping parallel to the boat. When an oar goes from perpendicular (good) to parallel (bad) a rower must pull the oar in and over their head."

Rio will be Manson's second Olympics. His boat finished seventh in the quad sculls at he 2012 London Games.

In his coming out story on Outsports last year, Manson wrote: "I have learned so much about myself and what it means to be gay over the past couple of years, and also what it means to be gay in a competitive sporting environment. And it's all been hugely positive.

"There are already a lot of great gay sporting role models, and a lot who have achieved far more than I have, but I hope that my story can add something to what is already out there. To show other people who might be struggling with their sexuality, not only that it's OK to be gay, but it's a good thing, and it won't change who you are or limit what you can achieve. At the end of the day, it's only one of the many things that define me as a person."

Congratulations to Manson and it will be awesome to watch him and Harris compete in Brazil next year.

You can follow Manson on Twitter.