Photography by Ricardo Nelson. Photographed at TMPL gym in NYC.
Just days before he will attempt again to make history at the Olympic trials, Josh Dixon is feeling "good." And you believe him when he says it.
"I don't want to get too ahead of myself or complacent," says Dixon, "but it's really anyone's game at this point."
Dixon isn't just anyone, though. When the young athlete competed for a slot in the 2012 London Olympics, his story captured hearts and minds as he looked to become not only the first openly gay gymnast to represent the U.S. but also one of the first gay people of color to compete on the world's largest stage for sports.
The 26-year-old Los Gatos, Calif., native wasn't able to secure a spot, but he has since begun to understand the role he serves as Rio 2016 comes into view. He has realized that sports were a safe haven for him growing up, and he wants young people to know they can find a similar refuge in them.
"It's my responsibility to put myself out there to show that sports can be an inclusive space," Dixon says. "And I hope any aspiring athlete, whether at the junior level, collegiate level, Olympic level, or professional level, isn't discouraged from being themselves, because it's possible."
As Dixon prepares for what could be his final endeavor to enter the Games, he's enjoying the pressure, motivated by the recent progress made by LGBT athletes.
"Having that weight on me is definitely a privilege, and it's definitely not something I take for granted," he says. "It's just a matter of taking it and turning it into a means of inspiration, looking inside yourself, so you can be your best and hope to inspire others to be their best, too."
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