LGBT+ representation in sport hasn’t moved on in four years


Gay Olympian race walker Tom Bosworth says LGBT+ inclusion in sport has not moved on in over four years since he came out.

The British race walker, who holds world titles, has also revealed he cried when Japan’s Olympics were postponed this year.

However, he says he continues to train twice a day in his home city of Leeds, during the coronavirus lockdown. He still hopes to win an Olympic medal in Tokyo next year.

Meanwhile he’s also been learning sign language.

‘I never realized how big a deal coming out was’

Bosworth was speaking to the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast.

And he said LGBT+ representation in sport is no better than when he came out over four years ago in October 2015.

He said: ‘I don’t feel like we have moved on at all if I’m honest, unfortunately.

‘It opened my eyes to a world I didn’t know anything about – LGBT inclusion in sport.

‘I never realized how much of a big deal coming out as a sportsman was until it happened.

‘It became national TV and I thought “this is ridiculous”… this is not news.

‘It became clear to me in the next few years just how few LGB people are in sport – let alone LGBT and reaching out to the rest of the community – it’s going to be even further down the line before even that can become the norm or just commonplace.’

After coming out, Bosworth told GSN his performance improved. Moreover he also had luck off the track when he proposed to his fiancé Harry Dineley at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

Working for a medal in 2021

Meanwhile Bosworth has also become a passionate LGBT+ advocate.

Indeed, he vowed to defend LGBT+ rights during the World Championships in Qatar in 2019.

But he said he was devastated when the Olympics were postponed. The games in Tokyo are now likely to go ahead next summer.

Bosworth said: ‘For me it was a real shame to learn the Olympics are being postponed.

‘I’m not going to lie, I took the dog for a walk [and] had a little cry to myself in a field. Thankfully no one else was about.

‘We just got so much right through the winter. I was pushing myself every day – not unhealthily pushing myself – just ticking every box every day: good sleep, eating well, training well, focusing on the important things.

‘And I used the time through the winter to get strong, I had a lot of back injury problems through 2019.

‘I went home and said “okay, athletes adapt, we can’t do anything about it right now. I know how I got myself in this shape I can do it again next year.”’

However, he said at least everyone is ‘in the same boat’. And he’s pleased the athletes will ‘get a second shot at it’ in 2021. But he added:

‘That being said I’m 30 this year and if sport comes down to the fine, fine margins then maybe this was my year to medal and I might just be that touch bit too old next year or pick up an injury.

‘I had such a good start and winter this year and I’m not able to maintain it. Or I could be better, we don’t know.’


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