Gay sport figures among Olympics torch-bearers

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Among the Olympics torch-bearers named this morning are gay figures from the sporting world.

7,300 torch-bearers were named this morning and will carry the flame for 70 days and 8,000 through the UK in July ahead of the opening of the Olympics on 27 July.

Chris Basiurski, Chair of the Gay Football Supporters’ Network said of being nominated: “I am delighted and humbled at being chosen to carry the Olympic flame. For many years LGBT footballers have been on the fringes of society and at the GFSN we have worked hard to send out the message that football is for all regardless of sexual orientation.

“When I first came out I remember being told by my University LGBT society that I needed to ‘drop the ridiculous straight obsession’ with football if I was going to be happy in the gay world. I am really proud that the GFSN has helped change this attitude and that the UK’s LGBT footballing community is so strong. I am very excited!”

The chairman of London’s gay rugby team, the King’s Cross Steelers, also said today he was ‘humbled’ to be named as a torch-bearer in the Olympic Torch Relay. Tim Sullivan, 51, was nominated by team members after 2 years leading the West Ham-based Steelers, who last year became the European champions in gay and inclusive rugby.

He said: ‘I’m humbled. It really blew me away that my name was put forward, and to be selected is a really strange feeling. I think I’ve been chosen because the Steelers are so diverse as a team. We’re one of the nearest clubs to the Olympic Stadium, too, so I think they’re pleased to have a real local bearing the torch!’

Among the thousands of nominee are a nurse who was nominated by one of his parents after he cared for his civil partner in the last months of his life.

When Adam Chojnacki’s partner succumbed to a brain tumour, his nominee writes, “it was so difficult to see his young flame extinguished so early. It would be the most wonderful opportunity and gift for Adam to carry the Olympic flame not only for the recognition of the great games, but symbolically carrying the flame for Mathew such that for all time we can remember him with love.”

Sebastian Coe, Chairman of LOCOG said: “Today we bring the Olympic Torch Relay to life, with thousands of inspirational people from all over the UK being confirmed as Torchbearers.

“We hope local communities come out and line the streets to cheer on the Torchbearers, and celebrate the Olympic Games coming to the UK.”

London 2012 has launched an interactive online map showing the route the torch will take around the country this summer and the days it will pass through each community.

An unusual quiz designed for Olympics volunteers surfaced earlier this month. Hopefuls were given a multiple-choice question on dealing with a complaint about a gay couple holding hands, with the option of telling the complainant to “stop being a homophobic idiot”, “politely” asking the couple to stop holding hands, and, presumably correctly, explaining to the complainant the “huge diversity of people” at the Games.