Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kerron Clement has come out as gay.
The track star, who competes in the 400-meter hurdles and 400-meter sprint, appeared at Los Angeles City College for the opening of the Nike sponsored, rainbow-colored Gilbert Baker Track—named after the creator of the Pride flag—on October 11, which was National Coming Out Day.
Yesterday, on #NationalComingOutDay, we opened up our new #rainbow track to LACC students, faculty & staff and the community. Thanks to @Nike x Gilbert Baker Estate and the #BETRUE movement, we presented our new track with Olympic winner #kerronclement! pic.twitter.com/4G515wI7aV
— Mary Gallagher (@DrMaryGallagher) October 12, 2019
This is so cool! LA City College’s new Gilbert Baker Track sponsored by Nike dedicated yesterday in honor of #NationalComingOutDay. As a track athlete, Coach, fan & member of the #LGBTQ community, ❤️! Looks like a pilgrimage needs to happen soon … e #BETRUE #GlibertBaker pic.twitter.com/oFgV7UmdjE
— Micah Porter (@micahaporter) October 12, 2019
Clement timed his coming out for that day due to its significance to the community and told Outsports he “was tired of loving in the dark and being in the dark by myself,” and that he cares less about what other people think now that he is in his thirties.
“I have been through what a lot of people have been through which is being afraid of being who you are,” he told Out. “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.”
Clement, who held the world record for the 400-meter indoor sprint from 2005 until 2008, said that feeling the need to prove himself made him the athlete he is today.
“I appreciate the hard times I went through when people made fun of me,” he told Outsports.
“It made me stronger. When they said things behind my back. It made me have a tough skin and a backbone, and it made me work hard on the track. And I performed because I had something to prove. That’s what made me become an Olympic champion.”
“I love,” he said. “It’s about loving somebody. I could be attracted to a female one day or a guy. I’m more attracted to men. But for me love is love. It doesn’t matter. Though I do identify as a professional gay track and field athlete, and it’s made me become who I am today.”