Jack Bristow, an openly gay triathlete from England, won his age group Saturday at the European Triathlon Championships in Tartu, Estonia.
Bristow, 24, from Birmingham, beat out two British teammates in the 20-24 category on the strength of his biking and running legs. It was Bristow’s first time on the podium.
“I was so proud to be an openly gay athlete and to achieve this,” Bristow told Outsports. “I had messages from back home from friends telling me I’m an inspiration and was congratulated in Tartu by one of the men from the 60-64 age group who is also a member of the British triathlon LGBTt network.”
In 2016, Bristow wrote an article for Outsports where he detailed how be became a better athlete after coming out. “I have found that there is this symbiotic relationship between my confidence and success as an athlete and my confidence and acceptance of my identity as a gay man,” he wrote.
At the British championships in June, he posed post-race with a rainbow flag.
He avoided such a display in Estonia so as to not jeopardize his accomplishment.
“I didn’t fly a rainbow flag at the event because the rule against ‘making political statements’ is a bit of a gray area, but now I want to stand up and say, ‘Look, you can be gay and it doesn’t hold you back at all,’” he said.
Bristow was not the only out athlete to excel in Estonia. His friend Möritz (Mo) Belmann is also an openly gay triathlete representing Germany. Belman finished third in the 25-29 age category.
Jack Bristow can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter and Instagram.