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Olympic snowboarder Sarka Pancochova is ‘stoked’ to come out publicly

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“Nowadays it is really not a big deal.”

FIS Snowboard World Championships - Men and Women's Slopestyle
Sarka Pancochova has competed in the Winter Olympics, World Championships and X Games.
Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images

The 35th Annual Burton US Open returned to my hometown of Vail, Colo., this year in late February and early March. The Burton US Open is the premier snowboarding event of the year and also the longest running.

This year I was lucky enough to interview the amazing Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochovaz. It's incredible to think that Pancochova only started snowboarding in 2002 at a local mountain in the Czech Republic. She has won a silver medal at both the World Championships and X Games, and she competed in both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.

Pancochova is sweet, smart, quirky and a very talented athlete. I instantly fell in love with her when she showed up for our interview in a zebra onesie. Her spirit and her love for life shines through in everything she does.

She talked with me and Outsports — for the very first time publicly — about being an LGBT athlete. In the interview she talked about her love life and other intimate details of her life that she hasn't shared with any other media sources before. She also offers encouragement to other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes to be their true selves.

You can find Gretchen Pleshaw on Instagram @gretchenpleshaw.

You can find Sarka Pancochova on Instagram @sarkasnow or on Twitter @sarkasnow.