Tomás González, a three-time Olympic gymnast from Chile, has come out as gay in his autobiography, “Champion: Lessons, triumphs and falls of an Olympic gymnast.”
“I suppose it is no longer an issue, but yes, I am gay,” González, 36, told the website Latercera. “And if it is about making it public, I prefer to do it in this book.”
González competed at the 2012 London, 2016 Rio and 2021 Tokyo Olympics, but did not medal, with his best finish being fourth in two events in 2012. He has won numerous medals at the Pan-Am Games and South American Games.
Nearing retirement, González said he did not want to use his sports platform to come out. “I try to contribute to society from sport ... but actively participating in politics does not interest me. Obviously, I’m always going to be supporting people. As long as there are equal rights for all, I will support it. But going public with that goal was never my goal.”
One impediment to coming out is gymnastics itself. “Machismo and homophobia are problems that exist in society and in the gym as well,” he said. Of the 186 out LGBTQ athletes in Tokyo, there was only one gymnast, a woman. Australian Heath Thorpe is the only out gay male gymnast we know of competing internationally.
González knew he was gay when he was 24 and being from a traditional family it caused him a lot of anguish. “I cried a lot those days,” he says. “I was in the process of coming to terms with myself as a homosexual and I felt that a part of me was dying too.”
In the book, González is blunt about the emotional anguish he suffered as an athlete, recounting when a coach called him a “faggot” in 2007 after he fell during a competition. “I was willing to sacrifice my mental health in order to get to the Olympic Games,” he said.
González has been in a relationship for six years and eventually wants to get married and have kids. “We all work, pay taxes, have a role in society,” he said. “So, I want to have the same rights as any citizen. Regardless of any sexual orientation, we all have to have the same rights.”
You can follow González on Instagram.