Denis Finnegan, who has won ten national medals in Ireland for triple jump has come out as gay.
Speaking to the Five Rings To Rule Them All podcast published by Outsports, Denis Finnegan said he has been “drifting” towards the decision to come out in recent years even though being gay is only a small part of who he is “as a person and an even smaller part as an athlete.”
He said in making the decision to come out, he hopes to help other LGBT+ athletes feel less alone.
33 year-old Finnegan currently lives in Melbourne.
“For younger people, it will hopefully give them more confidence in what they’re doing.
“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,” Finnegan said.
The triple jump national champion said he veered to athletics as opposed to team sports such as basketball and GAA, which he played when he was younger as he found the atmosphere so welcoming.
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“Athletics was always a place that, because it was quite mixed, it was a place I could have gotten away from everything.
“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,” he told the podcast.
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Growing up, Finnegan said sport was a huge part of his identity and it was important for him to continue competing after college.
“I loved sport and my whole family was sporty. I’d want to be doing the sports, but there was a part of them I wasn’t enjoying at all,” he said referring to the masculine culture often at play in the sporting world.
Finnegan also spoke about being publicly “closeted” while being out in his personal life.
Listen to his interview here.
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