Gay cycling champion Graeme Obree warns gay athletes to stay in the closet

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Graeme Obree, the cycling champion who came out earlier this year, has warned other gay sportsmen and women not to follow his example.

The 45-year-old athlete, known as the Flying Scotsman, revealed in January that he is gay and said he had twice to kill himself over his struggle to accept his sexual orientation.

But yesterday, he said that it would be “too awkward” to be an active sportsman and openly gay.

He added that he would not even consider coaching other rising stars.

Speaking to the Scottish Sun, the newspaper he came out to, Obree said: “I don’t think being gay and an active sportsman is a good thing.

“While I was competing and in a changing room environment there was no way I would come out.

“You’d always be worrying if other people were thinking, ‘Is he checking me out?’ ”

He added: “There are SPL footballers who are gay, I know that for a fact.

“But if I was in their position there is no way I would come out.

“It would be too awkward in the dressing room.

“You need to be retired first. Even now I wouldn’t do coaching because it’s still an awkward situation.”

His remarks coincide with comments from German football captain Philipp Lahm, who has said he would not advise gay professional players to come out.

The Bayern Munich captain, 27, wrote in his autobiography The Subtle Difference that bullying could drive them to kill themselves.