By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com May 05 2010 10:10 AM ET
New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup, who competed at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, has come out in an interview with Australian magazine DNA.
Outsports reports on the interview with the 24-year-old Skjellerup, which is available online to magazine subscribers. The athlete was the only short track speed skater to represent New Zealand in Vancouver.
Skjellerup said he would have come out during the recent Olympics if asked, but he did not seek out the opportunity because he wanted to focus on the competition.
“Blake’s teammates knew he was gay and, although some didn’t want to hear about it, in no way was he discriminated against,” writes DNA. “'The first real issue was that I was there to compete — to focus on my skating — and to not have the focus on my sexuality,’ he says.
“'We are not yet at the point in society where being gay sportsperson is not a big deal. If I was asked during any of my twenty-something interviews at the Olympics whether I had a boyfriend or a girlfriend — in the same sentence — I would have replied honestly, but I may have replied hesitantly,’” Skjellerup told DNA.
Skjellerup does not name his boyfriend, who is also a competitive athlete.