UK: Olympic medallist Colin Jackson announces he is gay

The British Olympic silver medallist and BBC sports presenter Colin Jackson has spoken publicly for the first time about being gay, saying he thought the time was right to reveal his sexuality.

In an interview for a Swedish documentary called Rainbow Heroes, the Welsh two-time 110m hurdles world champion said the reason he had not previously spoken of his sexuality was to avoid it being “sensationalised”. 

Jackson, 50, said he told his parents in 2006 after a former partner sold a “kiss and tell” story to a tabloid newspaper. “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. It didn’t faze them at all.”

Speaking to two Swedish former athletes, high-jumper Kajsa Bergqvist and long-jumper Peter Häggström, the track star said: “My mum went: ‘First of all, is the story true?’

“And I said so it’s true, so it’s not like I can deny it. And then she went: ‘Well, why are people so disgraceful?’ I just realised, I’ve got the best parents.”

He told the presenters he had opened up because of the way they had questioned him. “The way you asked me, it was a whole storytelling kind of thing and you were just interested in the way it affected me sports-wise, emotionally wise and my preparation.”

Jackson spoke about the stigma around gay athletes to the Voice newspaper in 2008 when he said: “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.” Read more via the Guardian