Gareth Thomas, the first professional rugby player to come out as gay, adds his opinion to the ongoing debate as to whether gay athletes should participate in the upcoming Russian Olympics given the country's laws against homosexuality
Gareth Thomas believes nothing should hold gay athletes back from participating in the Sochi Winter Olympics, not even anti-gay laws.
The openly gay retired rugby player discussed the 2014 Winter Olympics in an interview with Youtube sport channel Sportlobster TV, adding to the debate and concern as to whether gay and lesbian athletes should compete in the games because host countries Qatar and Russia have strong laws against homosexuality.
‘If I was part of a squad going to these countries – I would go there as a gay man and be the best at what I was doing and prove that their laws can not stop me at being the best I can be in my sport,’ said Thomas.
‘Athletes often only have one chance to be the best and they have worked so hard to get there that nothing should hold them back,’ he added.
Straight rugby player James Haskell, who was also being interviewed, said he ‘feels bad’ anyone should have to struggle and live a lie by concealing their sexuality.
‘Statistically there must be gay rugby players out there,’ Haskell added, but he is not aware of a single one who’s come out.
Thomas said when he came out he realized ‘people don’t give a shit’.