History has just been made in Switzerland. Curdin Orlik is the man of the hour after he came out through an interview with local source The Magazine.
“I am like that,” Orlik told the publication (translation by OutSports). “I can’t help it. That’s how I was born.”
The 27-year-old is a champion in the sport of Schwingen, or Swiss wrestling. While the sport is relatively unknown outside of Switzerland, it is extremely popular within its home country. The sport has a traditional/folk wrestling format where wrestlers wear special clothing that allows for throws and holds. In addition, the two competitors are confined within a tight circle, which is covered in sawdust. The first to pin their opponent’s shoulders to the ground wins.
For Orlik, the worlds of sport and Schwingen have been kind to him. In May of 2019, the Schwinger newspaper Closing Course voted him the “Schwinger of the Week.” He also took 24th place in the annual points list of the Swiss Association of Swingers. Throughout his athletic career, Orlik has won 35 wreaths and 5 wreath festivals (signifying that he was the best wrestler at a festival). In addition, his brother is the writer/former wrestler Armon Orlik.
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Letzten Sonntag durfte ich am Schwarzsee Schwinget vor wunderschöner Kulisse meinen vierten Saisonkranz mit nach Hause nehmen. Ich konnte 4 Gänge gewinnen und stellte mit Graber Willy und Gnägi Florian. Nun freue ich mich bereits wieder auf nächsten Sonntag 😊 dann darf ich nämlich mit meinen Frutiger Klubkameraden am Basellandschaftlichen Schwingfest teilnehmen. Wünsche euch eine gute Woche mit hoffentlich einigen Abkühlungen 💦💦! Bis bald, Curdin 📷: @scharliin . . #ipsuisse #roviva #mobiliar #eggerehz #jennihemden #kempa #gloryfy #garagewenger #schwingen #schweiz #schwarzsee
But now the champion has added another achievement to his legacy. He has come out as gay and become the first openly gay and active male pro athlete in Switzerland. Of course, this moment didn’t come easy. In his coming out article, Orlik shared that he struggled with his sexuality growing up due to his homophobic surroundings.
“For far too long I have pushed out who I really am,” he told The Magazine. “I am not someone who kisses in front of people, but I want to lie down with a man and be able to touch him. … I always knew that I was gay, for sure since I was 12. But I thought: this is wrong, it cannot be. I heard things on the school building square [like] ‘you gay pig,’ ‘you f****t.’ Or in soccer, ‘such a gay pass!’ Even when swinging [wrestling]. Sure, nobody really meant that, but if you’re like that yourself, you think, ‘Shit, that’s not a good thing.’ I thought: I don’t want to be gay. But it’s me. Now it’s out.”
His toxic surroundings didn’t stop there, unfortunately. As he grew up though and started to date, Orlik found an uncomfortable atmosphere in the world of gay apps.
“I felt abused,” he said. “I thought if being gay meant you were so miserable, it wasn’t for me. Getting to know good gays is doubly difficult if you keep your gayness hidden. You are defenseless because fear always resonates that you are exposed. And who should I have talked about bad experiences with? I was alone. It may sound stupid, but I figured I needed a girlfriend again.”
Fearing the world of gay dating, Orlik ended up dating a woman and having a son with her. Despite being fairly happy, Orlik still felt an attraction to gay men. This led to an eventual breakup, but the two are still close.
This then led Orlik to his decision to come out. Thankfully, The Magazine was fully supportive of him and worked on the article, by interviewing him and his family/friends, over an entire year. They only published the article when Orlik gave the ok.
Now after the fact, Orlik shared on Facebook and Instagram that he’s received loads of love and support through social media.
“Wow,” he wrote. “I am overwhelmed by the large number of positive reactions that you have sent me through a variety of channels. With your wonderful feedback, I’m now starting a new, open and free period of life.”