With the 2012 Olympic Games just around the corner (27 July 2012), I decided that a gay related sports post would be perfect. Many of us enjoy the Olympics- it's a time to support your country, watch endless amounts of your favorite sports and occasionally to stare at the hunks or babes playing the sports.What ever your reason may be, I have found a new reason (if possible) to watch the 2012 Olympic Games. Matthew Mitcham. That's my reason. Not making sense? Let me explain...
Matthew Mitcham is an openly-gay Australian gold-medal diver. In 2008 Mitcham won the gold medal for the 10m platform dive. Not only did he win the gold- he also received the highest single-dive score in Olympic history. (When we gays do something we always do it over the top). Mitcham will be competing in this years Olympic Games and will be the reason I am glued to the diving during the 2012 O.G.
(Above: Matthew Mitcham)
I have tremendous amounts of respect for openly gay athletes. In a field that can be very competitive and physically demanding- being open can make an athlete extremely vulnerable to the malicious critics out there. Their reward is in knowing that other LGBT athletes can dream bigger, now that they have paved the road less traveled. Gareth Thomas (Welsh professional rugby player), Anton Hysén (Swedish footballer), Matthew Mitcham (Australian diver) and many more are leading examples of just what possibilities await future LGBT athletes. These men are veterans in their sports and are proof that sexual preference is completely irrelevant when playing a sport.
(Left: Anton Hysén. Right: Gareth Thomas)
Campaigns such as the "You Can Play Project" and "The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation" all combat homophobia and bullying in sports. The aim is no longer to keep your secret in order to play the sport, but rather to play the sport without any secrets or regrets. There is one site in particular I frequented whilst closeted and coming to terms with my sexuality- Outsports . I surprisingly found the link to the first article I read on Outsports- and to prove its authenticity there is a comment made by Gregory (being myself) expressing my opinions on the article dated 2011-09-11. Here's the link to Greg's first Outsport article.
(Above: Ben Cohen: Former England rugby union international player and his campaign)
Why not have a Gay Olympics? You may ask. We do have a "Gay Olympics". Two in fact. The World Outgames which will be held in Antwerp, Belgium (2013) and the Gay Games which will be hosted in Cleveland, USA (2014). They're both sporting/ cultural events hosted by the gay community to bring together gay athletes from around the world to compete. It's important we show the world that our community is not sport inadequate and that we are just as capable at pursuing sports we enjoy.
Support is essential in a community such as ours. If you're a gay athlete or even a sport fanatic reading this- know that you're not alone. Passion, dedication and fulfillment are what makes a successful athlete. Never doubt yourself- you can be a professional that happens to be gay. If you don't believe me ask Gareth Thomas, Anton Hysén or Matthew Mitchum.
Check out the "Ben Cohen interview" video or Gareth Thomas' "It gets better" video below:
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