Decorated national track champion Denis Finnegan comes out as gay

10-time Irish national triple jump champion Denis Finnegan. (Instagram)

In news that not only has nothing to do with the coronavirus but is positive as well, decorated Irish national track champion Denis Finnegan has come out as gay.

Finnegan, who has won 10 national medals in Ireland for triple jump, explained how being gay is only a small part of who he is “as a person and an even smaller part as an athlete”.

Speaking to the Five Rings to Rule Them All podcast published by Outsports, which dropped Monday, the 33-year-old expressed his desire for more LGBT+ athletes to live their authentic lives publicly.

Gay pro athlete Denis Finnegan gravitated towards athletics as it’s the ‘most open’ sport.  

Currently based in Melbourne, Australia, he said: “For younger people, it will hopefully give them more confidence in what they’re doing.”

“There are still people who are scared or unsure of what’s happening, so I hope just telling my story might help one person notice there’s more acceptance out there.”

Being publicly “closeted” but out in his personal life was a point of contention for Finnegan, who explained how he, in part, drifted away from team sports, such as basketball, because of the level of comfort that individual-based sports provide.

He found the atmosphere of track-and-field safer than the machismo of the boy’s locker rooms.

“I think those sports, because they were a team sport with males, there were times when it wasn’t comfortable,” Finnegan said.

“Athletics was always my favourite sport, it was always the sport that was the one that was the most open.

“I’d be training with girls, I’d be training with guys, and I think that did help a bit.

“I was never worried about any kind of comments on the track. But when I was going for, say, football, it was more of an issue.”