Would-Be Olympic Gymnast Comes Out

Josh Dixon wants to go for the gold as an openly gay athlete this summer in London

Follow him on Twitter @JoshNDixon (courtesy of Twitter)

Josh Dixon, who’s been on the fast track toward representing the U.S. at the summer Olympics this year in London, addressed his personal life recently after finishing second out of more than 70 gymnasts at the U.S. Men’s Qualifier in Colorado Springs this weekend.

The Stanford undergrad told Outsports: “This would never affect how I’m judged or my position on the U.S. Olympic team.” And while he says that he once felt pressure to stay in the closet when he was younger, the reactions he’s received over the years have been mostly positive – especially from fellow gymnasts at college.

Dixon, who comes from a diverse background – he’s both black and Japanese, and was adopted as a child by parents who are white and Japanese – says he was inspired by his adoptive sisters to pursue gymnastics.

He’s also among very few male Olympians who have come out prior to participating in the games. Most people might think of Greg Louganis or even Tom Waddell (who died from AIDS complications many years ago), but even they had not been open publicly while participating in the games. For Louganis, it was only after people learned that he was HIV-positive (after hitting his head during a competition) that he ever addressed his sexuality, eventually becoming an advocate for LGBT rights after retiring from diving.

Johnny Weir, however, has been remarkably open about his sexual orientation – camping it up on the ice at times to the chagrin of plenty of critics. And David Pinchler and Patrick Jeffrey – both divers – have also come out as gay. But there has never been an out male or female gymnast to compete in the Olympics. If Dixon qualifies, he could become the first.