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Aussie Olympic Swimmer Comes Out

Aussie Olympic Swimmer Comes Out


Australian swimmer Daniel Kowalski, who won four Olympic medals before retiring, came out of the closet in an op-ed he wrote for Sunday's Sydney Morning Herald.

The 34-year-old Kowalski, who won Olympic medals in 1996 and 2000, now works as an athlete career education adviser. He says in the piece that he started coming out to friends and family in 2006.

Kowalski writes, "Growing up in sport and subsequently working in it has made the whole acceptance of who I am extremely difficult for many reasons, but most of all for feeling as though there was nobody there to help me through. I am aware there are phone numbers you can call for advice and support, but it was so hard because there seemed to be a lack of accessible role models who were also elite athletes.

"I often think that if I had people to look up to, to read about, who were elite athletes and were easily accessible -- people who had lived some of my experiences as an athlete -- then it would have helped the situation. It would have made it easier. But having lived it, I do understand why so few athletes have come out. In Australia, there have been Ian Roberts and more recently Matthew Mitcham."

Ensuring that he becomes the kind of accessible role model he wishes he had when he was competing, Kowalski provides an e-mail address at the end of his column.

Read Kowalski's full op-ed here.

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