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UT swimmer, Olympic silver medalist raising money for Austin's LGBTQIA+ community

Erica Sullivan is raising funds for Out Youth Austin as part of GoFundMe's "College Charity Challenge."
Credit: AP
Erica Sullivan of the United States poses with silver medal for the women's 1500-meters freestyle final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas swimmer and Olympic silver medalist Erica Sullivan is currently raising money for Austin's LGBTQIA+ community, specifically Out Youth. It's part of GoFundMe's "College Charity Challenge" encouraging student-athletes to use their platform to inflict positive change.

"Having those lowest lows in my life, I came out the other side not only with the drive to become a better athlete but to become a better person," Erica Sullivan told KVUE's Tyler Feldman in a Zoom interview Thursday night.

"Through that, I've just really taken it to heart to use my platform for good. At the end of the day, the Olympic medal will stay with me for a lifetime, but I feel like what I take pride in is the ability to change other people's lives."

GoFundMe reached out to Sullivan to participate and said she'll be passing the challenge on to another student-athlete after this week. However, her GoFundMe page will stay live until further notice, she said.

Sullivan's initial goal was to raise $1,000 but by Thursday night, the number was well over $1,300.

Out Youth Austin has been a local organization for more than 30 years whose mission is to "promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being of sexual minority youth in Central Texas so they can openly and safely explore and affirm their identities."

This organization is close to Sullivan's heart because she herself identifies with the LGBTQIA+ community.

Sullivan told KVUE that this cause is so important because of the challenges transgender people face every day, especially in Texas. 

Her goal is to bring attention and resources to those who are voiceless within her queer community. She also said the top donator will win a Team USA hat signed by who else, Erica Sullivan.

After winning silver in the 1500-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics, Sullivan said her focus will be at UT, where she is studying to one day become a film screenwriter/director. She hopes to help UT swimming win NCAAs over her final two collegiate seasons. She also plans to train for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

You can find the GoFundMe page here.

Watch the full interview here: 

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