It turns out Michael Sam isn’t the first openly gay athlete to come out of the University of Missouri.
In 2008, sophomore Greg DeStephen (pictured) was an openly gay swimmer at the university. The 5’8 blondie’s story was first reported by Gay.com and Out Sports five years ago, but it didn’t receive the same amount of attention Sam’s has. Until now.
A new feature in The Missourian details DeStephen’s coming out experience, which wasn’t without setbacks. DeStephen claims he was shunned by teammates after they learned he was gay.
“It was uncomfortable,” DeStephen told Gay.com in 2008. “A lot of the guys didn’t know how to deal with the situation. There are a lot of people here from small, conservative communities who have never known an [out] gay person. I wasn’t included in a lot of activities outside of the pool. I didn’t have a lot of guy friends. One teammate even told someone else I was going to go to hell for my lifestyle.”
But DeStephen refused to let this distract him.
“What I was going through at that point, I could draw on those experiences to make me work harder and really have an outlet for how I was feeling,” he said in his interview with The Missourian.
And work hard, he did.
Despite a difficult sophomore year, DeStephen eventually became a four-time All-American in diving for Missouri. He also represented the U.S. in the Canada Cup diving competition. And in 2009-2010, he became the captain of the swimming and diving team.
Today he lives in Dallas and is a college recruiter.
“I felt for a long time that if I ever have the ability to change things for the better, that I would do that,” he told The Missourian. “It is something that I’ve thought about a lot growing up and, especially, now.”
Scroll down to see photos of DeStephen both in and out of the pool.
He looks like a young version of that cradle-robber that’s dating tom.
For a gay man, he’s getting cozy with a lot of women.
The reason Michael Sam is getting so much attention is that he’s a very likely NFL prospect.
maybe had this swimmer gone on to national and international competitions, and – dare I say it – the olympics, he might have gotten more attention as a “first” out gay athlete?
@Respect4all: So do Tom Daley and I’m sure he has been aware of his sexuallity much longer than he gives the impression of. Look at some of the “datingpages” on the WEB – what do you see? Most of the pictures of the guys are taken together with some girls.Tom says he’s still fancies girls but I don’t think he will ever date one like he is dating DLB – with that I mean – having sex.
Judging by pics he’s bisexual. I want to see him hugging a guy, not some ugly broad
I want that Superman t-shirt.
I want that Superman!
@Respect4all: WOW, how utterly nonsensical… are you suggesting that the only context in which men should associate with women should be exclusively sexual? Pretty much every well-adjusted gay man I know has TONS of female friends… and frankly, it concerns me when a man doesn’t have female friends who he’s not schtupping… I mean, that’s just not natural, and kinda creepy (predatory?) if you ask me.
@litper: Do you only express affection for people you’re sleeping with?
Using Queerty’s rule, one of those guys in that pic is definitely his boyfriend.
He’s handsome and I’m glad for his perseverance and success. I would also like to send out good cheer to all the scrawny and fat math and drama and economics and science kids who are out and changing the world around them and getting teased and ostracized, and condemned by asshole Christians (who are probably drinking and drugging and screwing around, but feel superior because they aren’t gay).
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