Taking in the spirit of #NationalComingOutDay, Olympic gold medalist and world champion track star, Kerron Clement, took the opportunity to come out as an openly gay man. In an interview with Out.com, he shared his story,

“I have been through what a lot of people have been through which is being afraid of being who you are,” he says. “I struggled with my sexuality for 17 years. Over time, as you get older, you care less. Now it’s time to just be yourself and be free. That’s what I’ve become, free.”

Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, Clement competed for Team USA in the 2008 and 2016 Summer Olympic Games where he won both gold and silver medals in the 400m Hurdles and the 4x400m Relay. He has also won both gold and bronze medals in those events at the World Championships in 2007, 2009 and 2017.

Clement has been sponsored by Nike for quite a few years now and has long been an advocate for inclusion and equality in sports. He has been featured several times in Nike’s #BeTrue campaign which celebrates LGBTQI diversity in sports. His interview with Out was shared on National Coming Out Day on October 11th while Clement himself participated in inaugurating the Gilbert Baker Track at Los Angeles City College. The Gilbert Baker Track is a 400m long standard competition track facility, but with the noted difference that the track is a giant rainbow. The track is a community facility, open for all members of the public to train and exercise.

Clement shared his appreciation for Nike as a brand that supports inclusion of LGBTQI athletes and athletes of all abilities and identities, the support for which helped Clement feel comfortable in sharing his own story.

“I have a global brand backing me,” he said, mentioning the difficulty some other athletes, have had in the past being supported by institutions after sharing their stories publicly. “It’s absolutely amazing. I wish all companies would do [what Nike does].”

He shared that coming out to his family was difficult, but that he has found love and support from his family, friends, and community.

By Dirk Smith