by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
Australian former Olympic swimmer Daniel Kowalski came out in an article he wrote for the Melbourne newspaper The Age on April 18.
“Being a gay man with a foot half in and out of the closet is tough; the games it plays with your mind – and more importantly, your heart – are hard to put into words,” he wrote. “I finally accepted my sexuality at the end of 2006 following a huge anxiety attack at work. After what were literally years of torment, denial and very, very dark times, I couldn’t live a lie to myself any more. You often read that when people came out they had felt depressed or had suicidal tendencies. I, like them, experienced all of the extremes, but mostly it was the loneliness that was the hardest part of being gay – and still is.”
“Despite the dark, fearful and lonely times, being able to write this fills me with a sense of freedom, pride and relief,” he said at the article’s end. “There truly is a genuine sense that everything will be OK. I wrestled for a long, long time wondering whether being gay made me a bad person, but I can no longer fight who I am and that, simply put, is just me.”
Kowalski won a gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay at the 2000 Summer Olympics. At the 1996 Summer Olympics, he won a silver medal in the 1,500-meter freestyle, a bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle and a bronze medal in the 200-meter freestyle.
To read the full coming-out article, visit http://tinyurl.com/dankowal.