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Gay Olympian has faced rejection by family despite love, Olympic success

Sunette Viljoen talks about succeeding in sports despite family rejection.

Athletics - Olympics: Day 13
Sunette Viljoen is a successful Olympian for South Africa.
Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Openly gay Olympian Sunette Viljoen talks candidly about her success in sports and the total rejection she has faced from her family in South Africa in a powerful new interview with Swedish public television SVT.

Viljoen won a silver medal in javelin at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. She shared

“I have written 20 letters to my parents,” she told SVT, “but they live in a small place and are afraid of what people should say.

“When I took Olympic silver in Rio, I heard nothing from them.”

She had talked about these issues previously in 2013. It’s sad to see that nothing has changed for her and her family. Still, it’s inspirational to see her living life totally out and succeeding on an international stage.

You can follow everything SVT is doing on LGBT athletes via their Rainbow Heroes series, hosted by Kajsa Bergqvist and Peter Häggström.

You can follow Sunette Viljoen on Twitter @Sunette_Viljoen, or on Instagram @SunetteViljoen.