SINCE I got hooked on rugby league after following the Leeds Rhinos for the photographic book I did last year, my interest in sport has grown.
My partner Michael has long been a season ticket holder at Manchester United but I very rarely go with him. I can’t sit still for long enough, and unless I’m running around the pitch taking photos then I’m not interested.
The success of team GB at the Beijing Olympics seems to have gripped the nation and we’ve been screaming at the TV in the office quite a lot in the last couple of weeks.
London 2012 seems so far away but I certainly want to be in the heart of the action so I’ve put my name down for 10 pairs of tickets for the opening ceremony.
American Express Centurion, my credit card company, offer a concierge service where they can obtain tickets for almost any event so I’m on their list already, and apparently I’m at the top. There’s sure to be some jostling for the tickets amongst my family and friends.
One thing that does surprise me greatly about Olympic competitors is that there are over 10,000 of them competing, however only 10 of them are openly gay – that’s 0.1% of the total. Worse than that, only one of those 10 is a male, Matthew Mitcham the Australian diver.
Of course there are probably a lot more who have not yet come out.
The percentage of gay people in sport generally mirrors the entire population of between 2 and 10% which means around 1,000 athletes are for some reason not comfortable to come out of the closet.
Their reasons range from fears about effects on performance, attitudes of their team mates, fans and even lack of sponsorship for gay athletes. Also, the majority of competitors are under the age of 30, and that can be a key time for someone who is wrestling with their sexuality.
The athletes are also solely focused on their sport and put off dealing with their sexuality until their careers have peaked.
I’m hoping that over the next four years attitudes will continue to change and by the time I’m cheering on the Brits in London, there’ll be a lot more pink union jacks flying.