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Welsh hammer thrower comes out to help inspire other LGBTQ athletes

Osian Jones was dealing with ‘a lot of internalized homophobia’ and was surprised when there was no negative reaction to coming out.

ATHLETICS-CGAMES-2018-GOLD-COAST
Osian Jones of Wales competes in the hammer throw at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Osian Jones, a hammer thrower from Wales, says that coming out turned out to be a whole lot of nothing, in a good way.

“In some aspects, it felt like the most underwhelming thing I’ve ever done, because I played it up and became so paranoid — and then you say it and instantly feel better because you’ve said it,” Jones, 28, said on the BBC’s LGBT Sport podcast hosted by Jack Murley.

That’s actually a very positive description of coming out. Jones had built up the event internally (“I was dealing with a lot of internalized homophobia,” he said) as a bad thing and when it went smoothly, he wondered what all the fuss what about.

Jones don’t not label himself any one particular orientation except to say he’s “part of the LGBTQ community,” but is feeling way better personally and athletically this year than in 2021, when, he said, “I hated every single second of last season.”

“I watched loads of coming out videos on YouTube and listened to a lot of podcasts, and everyone says how amazing it feels after coming out — but I didn’t get that feeling at all,” he said. “In fact, because I didn’t get that, I didn’t talk about it at all.”

A lot of it had to do with Jones learning to accept himself and he was assisted in coming our by a coach who was in a same-sex relationship. Her advice? “‘Square this in your head first and we’ll be fine.’”

Now that he’s out, Jones wants to be a visible presence for other LGBTQ athletes.

“I’m generally quite a private person, but I want people in the community to know I’m also part of it — and doing something like this is good for my confidence and being able to move forward,” he said.

“I suppose that, in the throwing events, things are quite masculine and ‘alpha male’, which I’m not, and I think it’s important to be honest and visible — especially because I used so many other people’s experiences to help me.

20th Commonwealth Games - Day 5: Athletics
Osian Jones competing in 2014.
Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

“I’m really enjoying my training and competing, and looking forward to how this confidence will affect my performance — and personally, I’m really good and happy.”

Jones owns the Welsh hammer throw record and has competed in two Commonwealth Games. He’s also rare as an openly LGBTQ male field athlete. Of the 13 out track and field Olympians at the Tokyo Olympics, only five competed in the field events, all of them women.

You can listen to the full podcast with Jones here.

You can follow Jones on Twitter and Instagram.