Swedish alpine skiing star Anja Paerson ended years of rumours Saturday when she revealed she had a long-term girlfriend, Filippa, and that she is expecting a baby.
"I am tired of being someone else and of playing a game. I owe it to myself and especially to Filippa to tell the truth," Paerson said on a programme on Swedish public radio that each week during the summer has a new celebrity host.
The 31-year-old Olympic champion, who retired following the World Cup earlier this year in Schladming, Austria, has for years faced rumours about her personal life.
"The time of rumours is now over," she said during the pre-recorded nearly 90-minute programme.
Paersson told listeners she had never thought she would fall in love with a woman, but that after she met Filippa, today 39, in 2005 their friendship had gradually developed into something more.
"I had never intended to fall in love with a woman. Never thought that my heart could beat so fast for a woman. I was insanely in love," she said.
She wrapped up the programme with another surprise announcement, admitting she had lied in interviews after her retirement when she told reporters she did not know what she would do next.
"I have known for almost nine months what I will do in the future. I am going to be a mother," she said.
Paerson, who made her debut in 1988 at the Wrold Cup in Switzerland, took 19 championship medals, 42 World Cup victories, and two overall World Cup titles in 2004 and 2005.
She also won six Olympic medals -- slalom gold at the 2006 Turin Games, a giant slalom silver in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, and four bronzes (slalom in 2002, combined and downhill in 2006, and super-combined in 2010.