If everything goes as planned, the US Olympic male gymnast team will have its first out athlete when the world meets in London this summer. Yesterday (5 May) Josh Dixon finished second out of 72 competitors at the US Men’s Qualifier in Colorado Springs. He also tied for first in the floor exercise and high bar events.
The Stanford University graduate was profiled by Cyd Zeigler for Outsports, and talked about everything from his sport to personal life.
Dixon, and his three sisters, share the same birth mother but were adopted by Michael and Kathy Dixon (no one in the family has met the birth mother). His sisters introduced him to gymnastics, and he was instantly hooked. So much so he paid little attention when he discovered he was gay.
'Eat, sleep, train and do homework,' Dixon said to Outsports. 'Gymnastics was my number one priority, and if something got in the way of that I had to push it aside.'
He eventually ended at Stanford and in his second year a best friend, a gymnast at another university, came out to him. Dixon 'reciprocated the revelation.'
In his third year, Dixon had a relationship with a varsity athlete. Because he was spending so much time with his boyfriend, his fellow gymnasts asked who this new man was. He said they were dating, and this revelation was met with nothing but support. Dixon maintains, from college to now, his sexuality has not been an issue in the gymnastic world.
In fact, the only homophobia he's faced has been his own.
'He acknowledges he once felt internal pressure about being a gay man in what some label the “gay sport” of gymnastics,' Zeigler writes. 'He didn’t want to fall into a stereotype. But he’s come to embrace it, and he says his sexual orientation now makes him stand out more at the elite level.'
His biggest challenges are on the the mat. Dixon will compete at the Visa Championships, 7-10 June. To make it to the Olympic Trials, he has to be one of the top 15 finishers. Six will be picked to represent the United States at the Summer Olympics.