Kerron Clement is a two-time Olympic champion, three-time Olympic medalist and four-time World Champion. Yet as he takes aim at a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics, he’ll do it for the first time as a publicly out gay man.
This week he talks with me on our Five Rings To Rule Them All podcast about what’s led him to this point in his career, the reaction his fellow world-class runners have had to his announcement, and what he thinks his chances are of being on the track in Tokyo.
He shares with us about the struggles with his sexuality at the Univ. of Florida, where whispers had spread about the track and field star liking guys. The rumors drove a paranoia in Clement that pushed him to prove himself by winning races and setting a world record.
Clement also talks about the time in high school he nearly quit the sport due to mounting injuries, and the person who told him then that he had the potential to win Olympic gold if he worked through his injuries and stuck with it. Years later, it would be those lessons about fighting through injuries that propelled his comeback to claim his second Olympic gold in 2016 — this time in the 400-meter hurdles — eight years after winning silver in the same event.