Gay US Gymnast With Olympic Dream Finds Support Among Teammates
Josh Dixon, a Stanford grad who is on course to represent the US in men’s gymnastics at the Olympics, has revealed that he’s gay and that his sexual orientation has never been a problem for his team.
In an exclusive interview with OutSports, Dixon talks about his passion for gymnastics, how his life has for a number of years consisted of only eating, sleeping and training, and how despite having to deal with some personal hangups about his sexuality, his sporting brethren have been nothing but supportive. An excerpt from the interview reads:
In his sophomore year at Stanford, one of his best friends on the gymnastics team at the University of Illinois came out to him. Dixon reciprocated the revelation; Instantly, they had a mutual support structure with another gay collegiate athlete.
When he started exploring his sexuality in his junior year, he quickly learned he wasn’t the only gay male athlete at Stanford, as he was soon dating another varsity athlete. When some members of the gymnastics team noticed Dixon was spending a lot of time with one particular friend, Dixon said they were quite comfortable bringing it up.
“Who’s this guy you’ve been hanging out with?” One of them asked.
Josh told them he was dating the other male student.
“Oh that’s cool,” was the response.
In fact, Dixon said he has not had a single negative response “in any way, shape or form.” If anything, the only homophobia he has encountered has been from within himself. He acknowledges he once felt internal pressure about being a gay man in what some label the “gay sport” of gymnastics. He didn’t want to fall into a stereotype. But he’s come to embrace it, and he says his sexual orientation now makes him stand out more at the elite level.
Saturday saw Dixon finish second out of 72 competitors in the US Men’s Qualifier in Colorado Springs, and if he continues to advance with this form he very well could be the first openly gay male gymnast competing at the Olympics and the first gay US gymnast to do so.
Dixon is well qualified for the task. He is a seven-time all-American athlete who managed to come back from a severe Achilles tendon injury last spring to be a potential Olympic contender.
Dixon’s Olympic dream now hinges on how well he and his team perform in the next two qualifiers.
If Dixon were to compete at the Olympics he would join only a handful of openly gay athletes to do so, including the gold medal-winning Australian diver Matthew Mitcham.