Olympic swimmer Sean Gunn praised for coming out as gay

The Olympic swimmer publicly came out as gay in a new interview with OutSports.

Zimbabwean Olympic swimmer Sean Gunn posing with a medal in front of a beach.
Image: @seandunnnn on Instagram, Zimbabwean Olympic swimmer Sean Gunn receives praise after coming out at gay.

Former Zimbabwean Olympic swimmer Sean Gunn, who competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, has received widespread praise from both the LGBTQ+ and sport communities alike after publicly coming out as gay in an interview with OutSports published on Monday, March 18. 

In the interview, Gunn said that he’d already been out with his friends, family, and teammates since he was 27. 

The athlete, now 30, shared that he’d come out to his teammates at the University of Kentucky before deciding to come out to his family. 

“My team, and everyone who did know, was very supportive and happy for me,” said Gunn. 

“I honestly don’t think anything changed at all. In my head, I built it up for so long and was terrified that the way they acted or treated me would be different.

“But I was really lucky: everyone was amazing and wanted me to be the happiest version of myself.”

Gunn established himself as an exceptional athlete at the Rio 2016 Olympics competing for Zimbabwe. The swimmer participated in the 100-metre freestyle race, where he set what was then a new national record. Unfortunately, Gunn’s competitive swimming career ended shortly after his first and only Olympic Games. 

The Olympian now lives in South Africa with his boyfriend, where he says he does more running than swimming these days. 

Since coming out, Gunn has received widespread support from the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the sporting community, as he joins a number of other athletes that have come out in recent years, such as footballers Jake Daniels and Josh Cavallo. 

In a post on X/Twitter, Cyd Zeigler, the co-founder of the National Gay Flag Football League, wrote: “​​So proud of Sean Gunn for coming out publicly as a gay Olympian and former Kentucky Wildcats swimmer. Thank you Sean for trusting us to tell your story! #CourageIsContagious

Under an OutSports Instagram post announcing Gunn’s coming out, openly gay Olympic rower Robbie Manson similarly celebrated the news, commenting with three ‘clap’ emojis. 

Members of the LGBTQ+ community similarly congratulated Gunn online, with X/Twitter user @Chester66Red writing “good for him, excellent news”. @acktiongaming echoed the refrain, commenting “Hell yeah!” under a Pink News post covering the news. Out in Jersey, a New Jersey-based LGBTQ+ publication, similarly commented on the post, writing: “Yay Sean!”

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