Team Great Britain fully represents Team LGBTQ+.
A total of 20 out LGBTQ+ athletes competed for Britain in the Tokyo and Beijing Games, a figure that represents the preponderance of out Olympians. The number promises to be similar for Paris 2024, especially since swimmer Dan Jervis publicly came out as gay last January.
Jervis recently sat down with fellow gay British Olympian Bruce Mouat for a conversation about coming out, and the freedom he’s felt since then. (Mouat, a curler who became the first gay man to win a Winter Olympics medal outside of figure skating in almost a century, came out in December 2021.)
Jervis, 27, came out in an interview with BBC prior to the 2022 Commonwealth Games, a quadrennial event for athletes in the Commonwealth of Nations. The two-time Olympic medal winner–he won bronze in 2014 and silver in 2018–said he intentionally came out before the Commonwealth Games because homosexuality is still illegal in multiple participating countries. He wanted to be visible on the world stage.
In his conversation with Mouat, Jervis said the feeling of relief was empowering.
“I try to tell people who are in that moment or are just about to come out or have come out already, that it’s such an amazing experience,” he said. “I completely understand that we’re in a very privileged position in that we’ve been accepted and that some people don’t have that, but that moment when it’s out there and the weight has been lifted off your shoulders, you can’t quite describe it.”
Mouat, for his part, says Team Britain’s welcoming environment made it easy for him to compete as an out gay man.
“It’s amazing to see that we have so many athletes in Team GB that feel comfortable enough to tell their teammates and feel comfortable in their sport,” he said.
Mouat, 28, has thrived since coming out. Last April, the top British curler won another gold medal in the World Men’s Curling Championship.
In a previous interview with the BBC, Mouat said he realized that being closeted was holding him back athletically.
“She was the one who helped me realize that being gay didn’t really matter in terms of a sport, it’s not going to affect how I play, but that before I had come out it was affecting how I played,” he said.
Mouat told Jervis that he came out prior to the Beijing Games last year, because he wanted to control his own narrative.
“I decided to come out before my Olympics because I was worried that a journalist would just randomly ask me, so I decided to do it on my own terms,” he said. “I managed to get it all out of the way before the Olympics so I could focus on my curling. So, it worked out pretty well.”
Jervis, for his part, says he can’t wait to represent in Paris next summer.
“It’s a world stage and so many people are watching you, so to be able to have gone to that Olympic Games and have stood on that block with everyone watching back home knowing that I was truly being myself, I can’t get that back for Tokyo but I’ll now be able to have that for Paris,” he said.
Scroll down for more pics of Jervis and Mouat basking their athletic glory…