Ten-time Irish national track and field champion Denis Finnegan came out as gay overnight on the podcast Five Rings To Rule Them All. He told sports reporter Cyd Zeigler that he drifted towards coming out in recent years.
Originally from Ireland, Denis Finnegan now lives in Melbourne. In 2018, he met Cyd Zeigler from Five Rings To Rule Them All at the Gay Games in Paris. At the time, he did not feel ready to come out publicly. However, he recently contacted Zeigler to say the time now felt right.
Denis previously won ten Irish national medals for the triple jump. Depending, of course, on current world events, he plans to compete again later this year.
He said he intentionally chose athletics over the team sports he played when he was younger because he found the atmosphere so welcoming.
He preferred the mixed aspect of athletics compared to team sports.
“I think those sports because they were a team sport with males, there were times when it wasn’t comfortable.
“Athletics was always my favourite sport, it was always the sport that was the one that was the most open.
“I’d be training with girls. I’d be training with guys, and I think that did help a bit. I was never worried about any kind of comments on the track. But when I was going for, say, football, it was more of an issue.”
Help others feel less alone
Denis said he hoped his coming out helps other LGBT+ athletes feel less alone.
“There are still people who are scared or unsure of what’s happening, so I hope just telling my story might help one person notice there’s more acceptance out there.”
American Olympic gold medal-winning track star Kerron Clement came out last year saying, “I was tired of loving in the dark.”
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