Mark Foster, who swam for Great Britain in five Olympic Games, has come out publicly as gay in an interview with The Guardian. The retired 47-year-old said in the interview that he has been dating men for the last 26 years, during much of his career.
Despite being out to many people in his personal life, Foster said coming out publicly had still brought him some anxiety.
“I was a bit nervous today but I kept busy,” he said in the interview. “I was tidying the house for you [he laughs]. I was a little apprehensive but years ago I would have been fearful of how I would be judged. Maybe that’s me being older and having a long time to get used to the idea.”
Foster’s distinguished career brought him six World Championships and eight world records. He was also the flag bearer for Team Great Britain in the 2008 Olympics.
He said he had considered coming out publicly before, and that some journalists had even done a bit of snooping around his personal life. He only came out to anyone in swimming at the age of 30. Foster shared the cute story with The Guardian:
I was training in Germany with my mate Neil Willey and Therese Alshammar, one of the most decorated swimmers of all time. We shared a flat and every Saturday night we’d go out. Once, pissed in this nightclub, I was dancing close to Therese. Neil sat at the bar giving me this look of thunder because he was seeing her. I went over and he said: ‘What are you doing so close to Therese?’ I said: ‘Mate, you’ve got nothing to worry about. I’m gay.’ He went: ‘Oh!’ My shield was down because I was pissed and felt comfortable sharing it with him and Therese.
Be sure to read Foster’s complete story in The Guardian.