Dan Jervis: British swimmer comes out as gay before Commonwealth Games

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British swimmer Dan Jervis is a two-time Commonwealth Games medalist (PA)
British swimmer Dan Jervis is a two-time Commonwealth Games medalist (PA)

British swimmer Dan Jervis has come out as gay.

The 26-year-old Olympian made the announcement ahead of next month’s Commonwealth Games, when he will compete for Wales in Birmingham.

Jervis took silver in the men’s 1500m freestyle at the 2018 Games in Australia and claimed bronze in the same event in Glasgow four years earlier.

The Welshman also reached the Olympic final with Team GB in Tokyo last summer and now hopes to serve as an inspiration to those struggling with their sexuality.

“It took me 24 years to be who I am,” Jervis said. “I was adjusting to everything else, just trying to fit in - until I thought: ‘Just be you.’

“You know, we’re just before the Commonwealth Games and there are going to be kids and adults watching who will know that I’m like them, and that I’m proud of who I am.”

Jervis, who was speaking on the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast, added: “For so long, I hated who I was - and you see it all the time, people who are dying over this. They hate themselves so much that they’re ending their lives.

“So if I can just be that someone people can look at and say, ‘yeah, they’re like me,’ then that’s good.”

Jervis said he revealed his sexuality to a close friend when he was 24. He continued: “At that point, I’d never said the words out loud to myself.

“I said to her: ‘I think I’m gay.’ I couldn’t even say: ‘I’m gay.’ I was basically punching the words out.

“She was quite shocked but great, and it was exactly the reaction I wanted. I’ve had all good reactions, and the way I’ve described it is I’m not going to change as a person.

“Everyone’s journey is different, but I think I’ve always known. It was something in the back of my mind, bugging me. I thought I was bisexual and had girlfriends that I loved - but it came to about three years ago where I knew I had to deal with this.

“It wasn’t affecting my swimming, but me as a human being. It sounds quite drastic, but I wasn’t enjoying my life. Yeah, I was smiling, but there was something missing to make me properly happy.

“I’m still the Dan you’ve always known. You just know something else about me now.”

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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