U.S. women's soccer midfielder Megan Rapinoe came out this year. She's also scored three goals at the Olympics, including two in the semifinal win over Canada.

Coincidence?

"I guess it seems like a weight off my shoulders," Rapinoe said on the eve of Thursday's gold medal match against Japan, "because I've been playing a lot better than I've ever played before. I think I'm just enjoying myself and I'm happy."

Rapinoe said the reaction to her decision to publicly acknowledge that she is a lesbian has been favorable.

"I don't look into it too much — I think that can be a bit dangerous," she says. "But I think everything I've seen thus far has been extremely positive. I think people were welcoming of it."

It's no longer a big deal when a female athletes come out, but Rapinoe said that men still face a double standard.

"I think there's a lot of gay women in sports, and it's widely known in the team, they can live a pretty open lifestyle without being open in the media," Rapinoe says. "But I think for men unfortunately it's not the same climate in the locker room. I think the homophobia is maybe a little overestimated. I think that a lot of stars have come out and said that we would accept a gay man in our locker room with no problem, and hopefully it's only matter of time before that happens."

— Joseph White — Twitter http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP