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In order to lift heavy weight in competition, there’s a need to reach a mental state that connects with the sub conscience. The moment that you think about the size of the weight that you’re about to lift, you will fail. Controlled and focused rage is the name of the game, along with good technique and of course raw strength.
Many successful athletes have a strong motivation that drives their ambitions. I believe my sexuality is no accident, as it gives me the psychological tools to succeed.
Specific cases of Homophobia within sport flick my switch. It’s no good if they’re general attitudes; an individual has to be directly effected for it to provoke me. I cannot bear to see wasted talent, and when a young gay athlete not meeting his full potential, this triggers fierce rage within me.
On the 2nd May 1998, Justin Fashanu took his own life by hanging. He was the first Black soccer player in the UK to fetch a price tag of one million pounds. Yet, just a couple of months later his club manager, Brian Clough was shouting to the press how useless he was at his job.
Of course, the fact that he was trying to lead a gay lifestyle had nothing to do with his manager’s attitude? Justin spent the rest of his career unsupported and hounded by the media from one football club to another. Eventually he elected to leave the country to become a player manager in North America. His only wish was to be allowed to play the game he loved.
He returned to the UK from the US after being accused of sexually assaulting a “straight” teenager, who was drunk in his bed. Even though this charge was never proceeded with, he found the pain of his sexuality, religious beliefs and exclusion from his family too much to bear. No gay athlete operating at first class sport has dared to come out in the UK since.
I dedicate my Gold medal at World Gay Games Sydney to Justin Fashanu, a young man 20 years ahead of his time.