Openly Gay Mark Tewksbury to Lead Canada at 2012 Olympics

Mark Tewksbury, the openly gay Olympian swimmer who very publicly broke ties with the International Olympic Committee following its 1999 corruption scandal, has been named Canada's chef de mission for the 2012 London Olympics:

Tewksbury "'I have the amazing honour and privilege of being the chef de mission,' Tewksbury announced on CTV's Canada AM Thursday morning.

'I got the news a little while ago and have been sitting tight on it until today, so finally I can talk.'

The chef de mission is selected by the Canadian Olympic Committee as the official representative and spokesperson of the Canadian Olympic Team…In addition to inspiring and motivating the 2012 Olympic team, Tewksbury says he'll also be working to ensure the team reaches its goals during the next Olympiad…Tewksbury, 42, competed in two Olympics before retiring from competition in 1992. At the 1988 games in Seoul he won a silver medal as part of Canada's relay team. In 1992, Tewksbury beat expectations to snatch Canada's first gold medal of the Barcelona games.

He has since been inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and the International Swimming Hall of Fame."


  1. Charlie says

    I really hate it when I see “openly gay” in print. Especially on a gay blog. AWFUL. Can’t they just be “gay”? You never see “Openly straight.” UGH.

  2. MammaBear says

    Good for him. He’s been very vocal on ethics and clean competition, and particularly in the face of the IOC and Canada’s Dick Pound, who you can equate to the Catholic church and Cardinal Ratzinger, or maybe the Soprano family and Paulie Walnuts if you’re looking for moral/organizational context.

    It would be an even happier event if Mr. Tewksbury would apologize, or better yet HAD apologized, for the financial mess created by the Montréal Outgames, with which he was intimately involved. He went missing in action as soon as various levels of government and suppliers were left holding a $5 million dollar bag when that enterprise collapsed shortly after the games in 2006.

  3. GregV says

    “Can’t they just be “gay”?”

    I think the same thing every time I see or hear it too, Charlie. There’s a proper context for a phrase like that (example: “There was one openly gay girl in his high school biology class, but he found out at the reunion that there had been two closeted gay guys there, too.”
    But when I read about “openly gay Ellen Degeneres” or “openly gay Elton John,” the word is not needed in that context.
    It’s become so cliche that it gets used for anyone gay who has even only put it out there with subtle hints without ever discussing it in the press(“Openly gay Jodie Foster”).
    No newspaper ever talks about “openly Jewish Jerry Seinfeld” or “openly biracial Obama.”

    Anyway, I’m proud of Tewksbury!

  4. RobbyRob says

    @Charlie & GregV: I couldn’t agree more. One hears “openly gay” all the time. It suggests that the person using the phrase believes that saying just “gay” would somehow imply that the person described as “gay” is closeted. And this is an outdated and oppressive belief. The prevalence of “openly gay” in the media perpetuates the idea that being gay is something one would/should ordinarily keep hidden. And I find that a bit offensive.

    While we’re on the topic, I’m also not a fan of the “gay marriage case” or “what are your thoughts on gay marriage?” We should be using “marriage equality” instead. We’re not trying to create a separate “gay marriage” category — we’re trying to ensure equal access to marriage for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. I wish the media would get this, too.

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