Athletics star and former 110metres hurdles world champ and BBC pundit revealed he told his parents 11 years ago – and was surprised by their unwavering support
BRITISH athletics star Colin Jackson has come out as gay in a Swedish TV interview.
But the former 110 metres hurdles world record holder admitted he has remained silent for years because never wanted the story “sensationalised”.
The Cardiff flyer, 50, is Britain’s greatest hurdler of all time – but he never won Olympic gold – despite being among the favourites in 1992 and 1996 and grabbing silver at the Seoul 1988 Games.
He told the Swedish TV programme Rainbow Heroes that he came out his parents about his homosexuality 11 years ago after an ex-partner sold a story about him.
Jackson said: “I was waiting for them in the kitchen. They walked in and they sat down.
“My mother could see my face was quite distraught. It didn’t phase them at all.
“I said ‘it’s in the paper about me and this bloke.’ It didn’t phase them at all.
“My mum went first of all ‘is the story true?’
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“And I said ‘it’s true, so it’s not like I can deny it.’ And then she went ‘well, why are people so disgraceful?’
“I just realised, I’ve got the best parents.”
Jackson has been intensely private about his sexuality till now, never wanting it to affect his work or public life.
But he was convinced to open up by Swedish TV alongside former athletes Kajsa Bergqvist and long jumper Peter Haggstrom.
Jackson was asked if he previously wanted to talk about it, he replied: “No, no, never.”
Bergqvist asked: “So why today?”
He said: “Because you asked! There’s no better reason.
“The way you asked me was a whole storytelling kind of thing and you were just interested in the way it affected me sport-wise, emotionally and my preparation.
“Lots of people who’ve asked before about it have wanted it sensationalised.”
Jackson is still the indoor 60m hurdles world record holder with a mark of 7.30sec he set in 1994.
He held the outdoor 110m hurdles world mark between 1993 and 2004, when China’s Liu Xiang equalled his time of 12.91sec before lowering it by 0.03sec.
Since he retired in 2003, Jackson appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2005 and has been part of the BBC’s athletics commentary team, including at the IAAF World Championships in London this summer.