Olympic hopeful Tom Luchsinger has written an open letter for OutSports revealing his struggle with coming to terms with his sexuality and what it would mean for his personal and professional life.
In the letter, the 2013 US National Champion deemed himself “the King of the Double Life.”
Luchsinger spoke of how his numerous accolades left him feeling empty, though he knew others were envious of his success.
“Four years of accomplishments glaring back at me, titles my teammates would kill for, hold no value to me.”
His heartfelt letter included times of prayer – when he would attempt to ‘pray away’ his feelings with a set of rosary beads left to him by his grandmother.
“The prayers would make me a straight man, the man I wanted to be but couldn’t figure out.”
Upon winning his national title, Luchsinger found his newly-acquired fame terrifying; he feared someone somewhere would figure out his secret and release it to the media. His anxiety levels skyrocketed and his life was consumed by stress.
This fear lasted for almost an entire year and, as the 2014 National Championship approached, he made a deal with himself – if he didn’t retain his title, he would come out.
Tom Luchsinger did not retain his title and he decided to keep the deal he made with himself – he began to reach out to those he trusted most. It was emotionally draining, but he found the support overwhelming.
Luchsinger now drops his sexuality into conversations with teammates and acquaintances, without much thought. Happily for the swimmer, the people in his life are extremely supportive, many not really caring all that much.
“For 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. […]I’m still the same person I have always been, just a hell of a lot better at it.”
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