LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Colin Grafton seen attending Junkyard Golf Club Camden - launch party on September 01, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Ricky Vigil/GC Images) | Ricky Vigil/GC Images

Colin Grafton, a professional figure skater who once competed for Team USA, has talked to the media publicly for the first time about being gay.

In an interview with Pink News, the Dancing On Ice skater opened up about his personal journey from, like so many other figure skaters, being teased as a kid to now being on TV and in the public spotlight.

“It’s been a long journey but now I am proud of myself and I’m proud of my orientation, and I want to let other people know that they should be proud of every part of themselves too,” he said.

Before he joined Dancing On Ice, Grafton was a professional skater for about a decade. From Boston, he competed with Team USA as a pairs skater with Kylie Duarte.

While he said this was the first time he’s talked publicly about being gay, he did appear in his underwear on the cover of Gay London Life magazine last year.

Plus, Grafton last season on Dancing On Ice was paired with drag queen The Vivienne.

So even if he didn’t consider himself to be “publicly out,” he didn’t shy away from giving love to the LGBTQ community.

The 32-year-old also talked about the difficulties of dating and being first a competitive athlete, then a professional athlete. The rigors of competitive skating — having to constantly push themself to get better scores with more-difficult jumps and moves — drains a lot of athletes in competition. While that subsides a bit when skaters turn pro, the travel can still be tough.

“I just didn’t really have an opportunity”, he said. “You might meet someone while you’re on a contract for six months and after that, you’re both off in different directions so I wasn’t really able to hold down a relationship because of that.”

Another interesting observation by the skater in the PinkNews interview reflected a dynamic we’ve discussed before, where ice rinks house figure skaters and hockey players. And far too often, the latter feel the need to harass the skaters and play up stereotypes.

“I remember feeling so nervous at various points in my childhood. You know, I’d be skating and the hockey players would come and bang on the side of the rink and shout words. That was something all male skaters had to deal with back then. It wasn’t easy but all of it made me stronger because I took it and focused everything on my sport.”

You can follow Colin Grafton on Instagram and on X.