Team LGBTQ

PHOTOS: 22-year-old Irish Taekwondo star Jack Woolley isn’t messing around

 

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The 2021 (er…2020?) Olympics are underway in Tokyo, and there are more out LGBTQ athletes vying for gold than in every previous Summer Olympics combined. That amounts to over 160 members of “Team LGBTQ” from around the world. Each day during the games, we’ll spotlight one of these inspiring athletes.

On the chopping block for team Ireland is bisexual Taekwondo star Jack Wooley.

“A lot of the top athletes would be from different kinds of backgrounds, so you can’t be too open about it,” he told Extra.ie last year. “I have had some opponents who wouldn’t shake my hand and I’m just thinking, ‘You need to cop on’.

“Some have, though. One of the top fighters in the world came up to shake my hand after I won the European silver. I appreciated that.”

And anyhow, the whole labeling thing isn’t so important to Jack.

“I just wish I never labeled it,” he confessed. “I still don’t like labeling it. People are just hell-bent on giving everyone labels nowadays. I don’t want to be that. I want to be the first Irish Olympian in my sport, the lad from Tallaght who went to the Olympics, not Jack the gay athlete.”

Still, Woolley realizes the visibility he’s created among athletes and understands that it can inspire others to live openly. “Maybe it can be good, maybe I can be an inspiration to some young people. And if someone wants to talk to me about what they are going through, they can but I’m not throwing it in your face.”

Head here to see all the athletes featured so far.

Ready, set, FIGHT:

Head here to see all the athletes featured so far.