When sprinter Kaylin Whitney runs at this weekend’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, she’ll do it as an out gay athlete.

“When I did decide to come out, it was the most liberating feeling I’ve ever had,” said Whitney, who has qualified to run in the 200 meters at the meet at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I don’t care what other people think, I’m going to be me.”

Whitney set world youth records in the 100 and 200 meters in 2014. While growing up in Claremont, Florida, she came out as gay as a teenager because she didn’t want to hide. She found strength through her sport.

“Sports gave me the confidence to be who I am today, and I think that should be the same for everyone else out there. It doesn’t have to be sports, it can be anything you want.

“Focus on the things that make you happy. That’s what life is about: throwing yourselves into your passions, and giving 100 percent to that,” Whitney said.

In honor of Pride month, Whitney ran in the Rainbow Tunnel in Birmingham, Alabama.

You can follow Kaylin Whitney on Instagram and Twitter.