Aussie gymnast gets real about his post-Olympics body image struggle


dominic clarke gymnast olympics tokyo instagram body image
Image: Instagram

Gay Australian Olympic gymnast Dominic Clarke has discussed his struggles with body image and the pressure he feels in athletics to look a certain way.

The 24-year-old trampoline gymnast, who lives in Sydney, was one of 11 Australian gymnasts to compete at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Games this year.

Clarke recently took to Instagram to share a topless photo of his current, post-Olympics body.

In the caption he explained to followers that “seemingly minor changes” in athlete’s bodies took a mental toll.

“So my body’s changed since the Olympics,” he wrote.

“With the expectation from society and social media of what Olympic athletes should look like, and pressure from a subjective sport, the normalisation of fluctuation and diversity with our bodies as athletes isn’t spoken about enough.

“As an athlete, often people don’t realise how seemingly minor changes in our bodies can affect our mental health and emotional wellbeing.”

‘A conversation I have with myself a lot’

The gymnast explained, “I gave my body and brain months to recover post the Olympics out of the gym.

“Naturally I wasn’t going to look how I did at the peak fitness after a month of rest. But I didn’t expect to worry about taking my shirt off at training from fear of being judged by ‘not looking athletic enough’ when I know that’s not the case.

“I am aware that I am not the traditional ‘face’ for body positive dialogue.

“However to me, this is a big conversation I have with myself a lot. [I] want others to feel confident to have for their own well-being.

“Not all gymnasts have big biceps. Not all divers have an 8 pack. And high performance doesn’t have an ideal body type.

“If you have any advice or want a space to share experience, my DMs are open.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Dominic (@_domclarke)

Dominic Clarke made Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020

Australian trampoline gymnast Dominic Clarke made his Olympics debut in Tokyo in late July.

He said the year-long delay had meant his journey to the Olympics was a “long, hard, and extremely emotional process”.

In the men’s individual trampoline competition, the athlete came fourth, qualifying for the final. He ultimately finished eighth.

Dominic Clarke is also the Pride Ambassador for Gymnastics New South Wales.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Dominic (@_domclarke)

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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