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National Champion Swimmer Tom Luchsinger Comes Out as Gay: 'I Have Come to Accept Who I Am' - VIDEO

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Tom Luchsinger, who in 2013 won the 200m butterfly at the World Aquatics Championship in Barcelona, has come out as gay in a deeply emotional letter published over at Outsports.

Writes Luchsinger:

For as long as I can remember I tried to repress my feelings through athletics. I tried to hide who I was through medals and accomplishments. I tried to pray away my sexuality. I tried to shower it off. Nothing ever worked. After years of stress, hate, and disgust toward myself, I have come to accept who I am. I am a proud gay man living my life the best way I know how, surrounded by people who love and support me!

LuchsingerFor years, my sexuality was the quality I was most ashamed of about myself. But now it seems that being gay is one of the characteristics I'm most proud of. I have accomplishments linked to my name that most heterosexual men will never have. I've overcome the fear of being rejected from the people I love the most.

My friendships have gotten stronger because of my self acceptance. My smile is a lot more genuine and surfaces much more frequently. I laugh a lot more. My body has time to recover from a workout because I'm actually an easy-going person. I have found qualities-both physical and emotional-that I like about myself - though that's still a work in progress. My number of good days far out number my bad days.

I'm still the same person I have always been, just a hell of a lot better at it.

Read Luchsinger's full letter here.

And check out his impressive 2013 championship win AFTER THE JUMP...

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Ian Thorpe Comes Out: 'I'm Not Straight' — VIDEO

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As anticipated, Australian Olympian swimmer Ian Thorpe told Michael Parkinson "I'm not straight" in an interview broadcast last night on Australia's 'ten' network.

Said Thorpe:

"I've thought about this for a long time. I'm not straight. Um, and this is only something that only very recently - we're talking in the last two weeks - I've felt comfortable telling the closest people around me. Exactly that."

Watch the interview clip and a news clip of Australian reaction, AFTER THE JUMP...

Thorpe added more to his statement, The Guardian reports:

"I'm comfortable saying I'm a gay man," Thorpe said. "And I don't want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay."

As Thorpe spoke – and his name trended on Twitter – the comments from the Australian public were overwhelmingly supportive. The gay community and the sporting world welcomed his decision and said it would help young gay people and gay athletes to feel supported.

"I was concerned about the reaction from my family, my friends," Thorpe said. "I'm pleased to say that in telling them, and especially my parents, they told me that they love me and they support me. And for young people out there, know that that's usually what the answer is."

Read the full interview transcript HERE.

Continue reading "Ian Thorpe Comes Out: 'I'm Not Straight' — VIDEO" »


British Distance Swimmer Protected From Shark By Pod of Dolphins - VIDEO

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A two-meter shark closely followed British distance swimmer Adam Walker during his 8 hour, 36 minute swim through the Cook Strait separating New Zealand’s north and south islands this week.

Luckily, a pod of nearby swimming dolphins surrounded him, and the shark took off, says Walker. The dolphins even swam close enough to Walker for them to brush up against his body.

Said Walker on land: "I’d like to think they were protecting me and guiding me home.  This swim will stay with me forever."

Walker is planning to be the first British swimmer to swim seven oceans. He is doing it to raise money for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.  In the past Walker has also successfully swum across the English Channel, the Molokai Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Catalina Channel, and the Tsugaru Channel.

Watch video of the dolphin pod AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "British Distance Swimmer Protected From Shark By Pod of Dolphins - VIDEO" »


UVA Swimmers Embrace Their Gay Teammates: PHOTO

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A new Tumblr created by University of Virginia students asking for photographs illustrating "diversity" produced this wonderful photo from the UVA swim team.

Writes Outsports:

Students at the University of Virginia wanted to show that it is more than a buzzword and to make the campus more inclusive. Along those lines, three students created an awesome Tumblr, "We Are All UVa," where students took photos holding placards talking about their experiences, good or bad.

Among them was Parker Camp, a varsity swimmer who told his coming out story on Outsports last month. He got four teammates to come up with this terrific photo.

Here's another from the site:

Hesthecutest


Shirtless Poolside Portrait: Jake Shears and Ed Droste

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Scissor Sister Jake Shears, Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste (and the dude in the back is director Chris Moukarbel) were captured sunning themselves over the weekend by the Instagram account of actress Zoe Lister Jones.

Ready for summer?

(via the awl)


Finnish Olympian Swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen Comes Out as Gay to Raise Awareness About Sochi

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Finnish Olympic swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen has come out of the closet because he wants to raise awareness about Russia's anti-gay laws ahead of the Sochi Games, YLE reports:

"I wanted to start a broader discussion in connection with Sochi, because it’s sad that the legislation in Russia restricts the human rights of young people and others," Liukkonen told Yle.

Liukkonen added that the Finnish sporting world was also in need of a more open attitude to sexuality.

"In the future I would hope that elite athletes and other people will not find homosexuality to be any kind of news," said Liukkonen...

Liukkonen said he's also speaking out because things were so difficult for him growing up.

"As the matter wasn’t discussed, I tried to forget about it, but during high school I began to accept that I am made this way," said Liukkonen. "Acceptance hasn’t necessarily been easy, but it hasn’t been horribly difficult either. This has been a long, slow process for me, but now I’m there."

Liukkonen, who is the first Finnish athlete to come out of the closet while still active in his sport, competed at the 2012 London Olympics and has won bronze at the European Championships.

Added the swimmer: "It’s a really great feeling that I can finally be myself."

Two other Olympians who have come out as a response to Russia's anti-gay laws? Canadian Olympic speed skater Anastasia Bucsis and Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff.


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