Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock

Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock

Language: English

Pages: 288


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Mark Tewksbury is best known as a gold-medal-winning Olympic swimmer. His remarkable sixteen-year athletic career included three Olympic medals, numerous world records, and inductions into three major halls of fame: the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Although retired as an athlete, Tewksbury remains a highly respected public figure. He delivered prized swimming analysis for the CBC from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, hosts the Discovery Channel's popular How It's Made show, and is Co-President of the first World Outgames, Montreal 2006.Tewksbury has spoken to millions as part of his eighteen-year speaking career and remains much in demand as an inspirational speaker to companies and organizations around the world. For his active humanitarianism, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Western Ontario in 2001, and in 2005 Tewksbury was awarded the International Person of the Year Award at Sao Paulo Pride in Brazil. He currently lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

For more on Mark Tewksbury, please visit

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rooms looked over a central swimming pool. It was like living in our own Olympic Melrose Place. During the Olympics Carol Anne had her birthday, and on that night all of the VIPs gathered to be with her. Carol Anne was a lot of fun to party with, and we were looking forward to her returning from some of her official IOC duties to celebrate. Although I was still discreet about my sexuality, I always had people around me now that knew me, leaving behind the feelings of isolation over being gay but

Carol Anne. She was powerful, and she had been clear that I shouldn’t speak publicly about being gay. The final challenge in the weeks leading up to my one-man show was to keep what I was doing under wraps from her for as long as possible. But keeping this quiet was a major challenge. On one hand, the news was out there, in the small advertisement for my show in a local gay weekly newspaper. After all, I needed to have an audience to fill the theater for the show. But just as I had created a gay

started to happen. A right-wing paper in the United States claimed that Canadians Mark Tewksbury and Ben Johnson had been stripped of their gold medals for steroid usage. I demanded and received an eventual retraction and apology, but it was like that during this time. We were being attacked on all fronts. It just made us more determined. We worked a global grassroots campaign to get people involved. I called many close friends, former Olympians, but got virtually no support at the time. The

Gay Games had been started because our community didn’t feel comfortable playing in the traditional sport world, but at the same time the leadership of gay sport behaved in a similar fashion to the IOC. Granted, there were also some differences. Where IOC members would be in jeopardy of having heart attacks because of their age, FGG members were prone to hissy fits due to their temperaments. There were many times when the bid city representatives at the back of the room were left looking at each

right. I kept trying to explain to her what the essence of my message was, but it seemed to only become more cumbersome and diluted in the process. She told me not to worry about finding the answer. “Let it come,” she advised wisely. It eventually would. But it all started with a push from Barbara. She asked me to get real, which came at a time when I needed to apply the same exercise to all parts of my life. I had thought that I was living an open life, but the reality was that gay wasn’t

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