The 2016 Olympics are upon us, and more than 40 LGBTQ athletes are are taking part in the Rio Games. British Race Walker Tom Bosworth is one of them, and he answered seven questions from NBC OUT.
How did your love for race walking start?
I joined Tonbridge Athletic's Club in Kent when I was 11. I tried many Athletics events, and tried race walking when I was 12 and have done it ever since. I also ran a lot until I was 19.
What athlete had the biggest impact on your career and why?
Within my event, I have huge admiration for French race walker Yohann Diniz. He's got over many hurdles, brings much needed entertainment to the race walk events and is 3 x European champion and a big favourite for the 50km title in Rio.
What are you most excited about and most nervous about going into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio?
It all! I just want to make everyone proud who has supported me over the years, and say thank you in the best possible way. I am nervous but I perform best when I put a bit of pressure on my self.
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What advice do you have for aspiring Olympians?
Always look for more. Take it step by step making those little changes and never give up. Training doesn't have to go perfectly every day, but it's important that you're training every day. Bad days or good days, you have to give 100% and get through it all.
You are also a trampoline coach and sports masseur. How did you get involved with these activities?
I enjoyed trampolining from a young age when my grandparents bought a trampoline. Since then I joined a club and loved everything about it. My parents signed me up to get lessons when I was 12 and took every opportunity to shape my future by seizing every opportunity and experience including becoming a coach. In 2013 I trained as a sports masseur. I never want to stop in one place. I want to keep adapting, learning and developing. I love to do and learn new things.
Did you have any reservations about coming out publicly? Why or why not?
My team and I carefully planned it. I didn't want it to distract from my Athletics. It will never define me, but it's part of me, which I am very proud of. I was happy to speak publicly when I was secure in my personal life. I have a great family, partner and training team, so I had no reason to have reservations. But only when I was lucky enough to have all that did I decide to speak out.
If you could meet any openly LGBTQ person in the world – living or deceased – who would it be?
Freddie Mercury ... Because he was one of the greatest icons ever!