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10/14/2015 10:31 am ET Updated Oct 14, 2015

Tom Bosworth Comes Out In Hopes People Will Focus On His Athletic Feats, Not His Sexual Orientation

“Hopefully in two or three years' time, coming out won't be a news story."

Mo Farah “didn’t bat an eyelid when I said I was gay.” bbc.in/1K6dT31British race walker Tom Bosworth - the first current British track and field athlete to come out as gay, says the Olympic gold medalist has been very supportive bbc.in/1ZxZQhZ

Posted by Victoria Derbyshire on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On Tuesday, 2016 Olympic hopeful Tom Bosworth came out as gay in an interview with the BBC, becoming Great Britain’s first professional track and field athlete to do so. 

“To my family and friends this is no surprise, but I felt now was the right time to speak publicly about this,” Bosworth said.

The 25-year-old spoke to Victoria Derbyshire about both the support he’s received from his teammates since he came out to them in recent months and the abuse he faced in years past from schoolmates who suspected he was gay.

“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,” Bosworth remembered. “I decided not to tell anyone about it … It was a decade ago, so I'd like to think that things have moved on a lot since then, even in schools, and that kids are more tolerant these days. "

Bosworth celebrates winning the men's 5000m race walk with a new British record at the Sainsbury's British Championships
Stephen Pond - British Athletics via Getty Images
Bosworth celebrates winning the men's 5000m race walk with a new British record at the Sainsbury's British Championships on July 5, 2015.

Bosworth currently holds three British race walking records. He explained that by coming out now, he hopes that the spotlight will be on his athletic feats and not his sexual orientation come Rio next summer. 

“By keeping your true self a secret, it could play on your mind and for any athlete that could turn into a distraction,” he said. “I can only speak from my experience but I found it a relief to be open with my friends, family and teammates … I just hope that the more sportsmen and sportswomen who come out, the more sport will catch up with the real world.”

“Hopefully in two or three years' time, coming out won't be a news story,” he added.

 

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