Olympic swimmer Mark Foster has appeared in public for the first time since coming out as gay. The 47-year old athlete attended Elton John’s AIDS gala just 48 hours after revealing to the world he is gay in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.
In the frank chat, he said that previous sportsmen coming out had made it easier for him. ‘I’m 47, a middle-aged man, and I’m no longer competing. And I’m not the first gay sportsman to come out. Gareth Thomas and Tom Daley led the way. I tiptoed around the issue for so long.’
The professional swimmer admitted that he had always supported LGBT causes but kept his participation quiet. ‘I got good at the dance of telling half-truths. I’ve supported the Terence Higgins Trust, Stonewall, Ben Cohen’s Stand Up to Bullying campaign. But I’ve always done it under the radar.’
In the interview, Foster addressed the rumors that he was dating fellow former swimmer Becky Adlington after the pair appeared to have a vibrant on-screen chemistry. We’re good mates and when she doesn’t want to answer anything on live television she’ll squeeze my leg and I take over. But it became a huge story. I should have said: “Don’t be daft. I’m gay
Foster was just one of a number of celebrities who joined Elton to raise money and awareness for his HIV/AIDS foundation. Graham Norton was on annual hosting duties while Sam Smith took to the stage to perform at the swanky gala.