Irish track champion Denis Finnegan has opened up to the public and come out as gay.
The 10-time national track-and-field winner recently appeared on Outsports’ Five Rings To Rule Them All podcast. While being interviewed by Cydd Ziegler on that podcast, Finnegan shared that he had been considering coming out for the past few years. While Finnegan sees being gay as a small part of who he is as a person, he decided to do so for all of the LGBTQ people in sports who may feel alone.
“For younger people, it will hopefully give them more confidence in what they’re doing,” the 33-year-old said. “There are still people who are scared or unsure of what’s happening, so I hope just telling my story might help one person notice there’s more acceptance out there.”
The athlete then backtracked to talking about how he ended up in the world of track. The 10 champ in the triple jump shared that he preferred track and field over team sports because the atmosphere was more welcoming there.
“Athletics was always a place that, because it was quite mixed, it was a place I could have gotten away from everything,” he explained on the podcast.
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“I think those sports because they were a team sport with males, there were times when it wasn’t comfortable,” he elaborated further.
“Athletics was always my favourite sport, it was always the sport that was the one that was the most open. I’d be training with girls,” he shared.
He then added, “I’d be training with guys, and I think that did help a bit. I was never worried about any kind of comments on the track. But when I was going for, say, football, it was more of an issue.”
For Finnegan, growing up in sports was great. It helped him to define a large part of his identity and life. Because of that, he decided to pursue sports after his school days. That said, being knee-deep in sports led to the athlete feeling a pressure to stay closeted. Thankfully, he’s decided to fight against that pressure in order to help ease it in the long run. And for that, we and other LGBTQ people will be eternally grateful.