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Years after denying he was gay, Olympic medalist Colin Jackson comes out

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Jackson was a two-time World Champion hurdler.

Colin Jackson
Colin Jackson won two World Championships as a hurdler.

Colin Jackson, the former Olympic silver medalist and two-time World Champion hurdler, has come out publicly as gay in an interview with a Swedish television program on SVT. Jackson is now a commentator for the BBC, who must be scratching their heads why he didn’t decide to come out on one of their shows.

In the SVT interview, Jackson talks about coming out to his parents about a decade ago and finding nothing but support from them.

In 2008, Jackson responded publicly to persistent speculation about his sexual orientation saying he was not gay.

"It's only people who don't know you who say things like that — not people who do know you,” he said at the time. “They are not in my life at all, so it makes no difference to me.”

In this latest TV interview, Jackson said he lied publicly about his sexual orientation because he didn’t want anyone to sensationalize his personal life.

When asked why he was coming out now, he praised the interviewers — Kajsa Bergqvist and Peter Häggström — for wanting to share his bigger story instead of just making splashy headlines.

“The way you asked me,” he said to them, “was a whole storytelling kind of thing and you were just interested in how it affected me sport-wise, emotionally wise, preparation-wise.”

Jackson joins a very long list of Olympians who have come out as LGBTI, including various male British Olympians like John Curry, Tom Daley and Tom Bosworth.