Out Olympic athlete Blake Skjellerup covers the new of GT magazine, in which he talks about being bullied for speed skating, the difficulties of competing without sufficient sponsors and being out in Russia.
In the new issue, Skjellerup explains that he was “bullied from an early age because of my sport.” Yet, it made him stronger.
“But none of it made me feel like quitting. Quite the opposite, it gave me huge inspiration to continue.”
Unfortunately, the 2014 Olympic Games may be the skater’s last. He tells the GT that he relies “quite heavily on my family to support” his competition but he also has a donation link on his website to raise funds. However, it’s not nearly enough “so at times it’s been quite difficult and I have to go without a lot of things.”
“I’m a lone athlete so I have to do everything myself. I wouldn’t say I’ve lost my life to the sport, but I can’t see myself doing it for another four years after the next Winter Olympics.”
On Being Out In Russia:
The Sochi games have become the subject of controversy due to Russia’s anti-gay bill and fears for the safety of gay athletes but Skjellerup does not appear to be worried.
“I don’t want to think because there are stories on the internet about me being gay is going to put me under any jeopardy, I hope I can bring some positive change in Russia to overcome their LGBT discrimination.”
The New Zealand athlete came out in 2010 to DNA magazine following the Vancouver Olympic Games. Something he chose to do after so he could focus his attention on competing. He finished sixteenth and is set to compete again at 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in Russia. If these games are, in fact, his last, he should know that he would have a successful career in modeling.