British Olympics hopeful Tom Bosworth comes out as gay
Race walker Tom Bosworth has come out as gay.
Bosworth competed for Great Britain at the World Athletics Championships and is set to feature at the Rio Olympics.
He is the first athlete on the athletics team to come out as gay.
He told the broadcaster why he had decided to come out now, as well as the reaction he had received from fellow athletes – including Olympic medallist Mo Farah.
“Coming out is no surprise to my friends, family and even team-mates – even Mo Farah, who didn’t bat an eyelid when I told him I was gay,” he said.
“I got to know him and others on the Great Britain endurance team prior to the World Athletics Championships in August after we spent a few weeks on a pre-training camp in Japan.
“It was a great chance to talk about it in a relaxed environment and everyone was very supportive of me being the first openly gay athlete on the GB team.”
“I’ve been comfortable with my sexuality and in a really happy relationship for the past four and a half years but in the build-up to the Rio Olympics next year, I don’t want this news to become a distraction or affect those closest to me,” he added.
“That’s why I want to speak publicly about being gay now.”
Bosworth also discussed the homophobia he had received in the past – describing how he once had his head smashed through a window because of his sexuality.
“When I was competing in local athletics a number of years ago, some other athletes called me ‘fag’ or ‘queer’.
“A group of lads used to gang up on me and the worst episode came when they smashed my head through a window after a run-in.
“I decided not to tell anyone about it, so my parents or teachers didn’t know,” he explained.
“I guess I was more worried about people blaming me than the students, but I had the support of my friends to get me through that tough time.”
However, he said with support of friends, family and fellow athletes, he is now comfortable with his sexuality.
He also said he hopes with more athletes like himself and Tom Daley coming out, attitudes towards openly gay athletes will continue to improve.
“It’s a big decision for me and a little scary what the reaction might be, but I do think that attitudes are changing.
Despite this, he said the sports profession is still “lagging behind” when it comes to sexuality.
“Unfortunately, speaking out about this as a sportsperson is still news,” he said.
“In any line of work, whether you are a teacher or working in an office, it’s normal to have a gay colleague but in sport, we are lagging behind.
“That’s a real shame and I’m not sure why that is because this summer has opened my eyes as to how supportive everyone in athletics really is,” he added.
“I just hope that the more sportsmen and sportswomen who come out, the more sport will catch up with the real world.
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“Hopefully in two or three years’ time, coming out won’t be a news story.”
See the full interview here.
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