It’s been nearly one year since Olympic swimmer Dan Jervis withdrew from the Commonwealth Games due to the lingering effects of a COVID infection. At the time, the British Olympian was in the midst of a mental health crisis, and wasn’t sure whether he would be able to compete again.
“I really struggled with my mental health,” he told Attitude. “Ever since I was a kid, that’s all I wanted. To have that boyhood dream snatched away from me so quickly, for something that I could not control, was heartbreaking. I questioned a lot of things.”
Jervis eventually decided to resume his impressive career, and we’re thankful for it. This weekend, he’ll be competing in the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle at the World Aquatic Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
Jervis last competed in Japan during the Tokyo Games, making his Olympic debut. He placed fifth in the 1,500-meter race.
With his eyes set on Paris 2024, Jervis is hoping to reach the podium next time.
Jervis, 27, says he decided to come out during the 2020 COVID lockdowns. Like many of us, he was reflecting on his life during a time of chaos and despair, and realized he couldn’t keep lying.
“I thought, ‘I can’t live this life pretending to be someone I’m not,” he said to Attitude. “I knew I wasn’t going to change. I was still going to be exactly the same Dan. I couldn’t keep hiding this thing about me. I needed to tell someone.”
So that’s what he did. Then last June, Jervis decided to tell the world. He publicly came out in an interview with BBC, saying he wants people to know “the real Dan.”
It’s been a thrill meeting him.
“It took me 24 years to be who I am,” he said. “I was adjusting to everything else, just trying to fit in – until I thought: ‘Just be you.’”
‘I want them to know the real Dan’ ????
Welsh Olympic swimmer Dan Jervis says he wants to inspire others after coming out as gay pic.twitter.com/jsNFSc9CFg
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) June 29, 2022
In a recent conversation with out gay Scottish Olympian Bruce Mouat, a curling medalist, Jervis said it was empowering to reveal his truth.
“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.”
Jervis, a two-time medalist in the Commonwealth Games, decided to come out before last year’s event because homosexuality is still illegal in dozens of participating countries (36).
“Now is a good time for me because the Commonwealth Games is in a month’s time, and there’s going to be a lot of people watching that, and there’s so many countries in the Commonwealth where being gay is illegal,” he said, via the Sydney Morning Herald. “And for me to be [visible] on that stage and to inspire people is what I’m here to do.”
The West Hollywood Aquatics Club acted as a refuge in the early 1980s for many gay men and women.
At least 16 out athletes competed for Great Britain during the 2020 Games, and Jervis hopes to add to that total next year. We’ll be rooting for him!
Oh, and as a sidebar, we’re also rooting for Jervis to start his own OnlyFans, like some of Team GB’s hottest divers. Scroll down to see why…
Divers Matty Lee, Daniel Goodfellow and Matthew Dixon have all started accounts in recent days.