Former Olympic silver medalist and two-time World Champion hurdler Colin Jackson made a big reveal this week. In a new interview with Swedish television program on SVT, The 50-year-old athlete, who now works as a sports commentator, came out publicly for the very first time.
Gay rumors had been following Jackson since 2006, when a man claiming to be his ex-boyfriend leaked the story of their relationship to the media. In the interview, the athlete said that incident was what prompted him to come out to his parents.
Reflecting on the moment, he said:
I was waiting for them in the kitchen. They walked in and they sat down. My mother could see my face and I was quite distraught. My mum went: ‘First of all, is the story true?’ And I said it’s true, so it’s not like I can deny it. And then she went: ‘Well, why are people so disgraceful?’ I just realized, I’ve got the best parents.
In 2008, Jackson finally responded to the gay rumors by saying: “It’s only people who don’t know you who say things like that–not people who do know you. They are not in my life at all, so it makes no difference to me.”
Also in 2008, when asked about the stigma that surrounds LGBTQ athletes, Jackson told a reporter: “It’s the 21st century. I don’t think anybody thinks about that any more. There might have been a stigma in years gone by.”
In his latest interview, Jackson said he wasn’t forthcoming about his sexuality earlier because he didn’t want his personal life to be “sensationalized.”
When asked why he was coming out now, he said it was because of the interviewers, Kajsa Bergqvist and Peter Häggström, and the respect they showed for his story.
“The way you asked me,” he said, “was a whole storytelling kind of thing and you were just interested in how it affected me sport-wise, emotionally wise, preparation-wise.”
Scroll down for photos from Jackson’s Instagram page…