As one of the most decorated athletes, not only in Ireland but in track and field, Denis Finnegan has come out as gay in a new interview. Finnegan, who is Irish, competed in the triple jump, an event also called the hop, step, and jump, where competitors run down a track and then jump into a sand pit, being measured for distance.
In the interview, Finnegan said that his process of coming out was “kind of slow.” He first came out to a few friends, then his family, and then others, over the span of a few years. Before he made any personal declaration the jumper, who now lives in Australia, wanted to first come out to all of his family.
“It’s all been a totally good response, he told the Five Rings To Rule Them All podcast of his conversations with his family. Those were the disclosures that he had been worried about most. “It was never the sport side of things that would be the problem, the athletics for me were always a welcoming place.” The roughest part happened to be getting on his own perceptions, he admitted.
“Half the issues were stuff that I built up in my head to what could have happened,” Finnegan said. “We’re so used to, as a gay person, hiding parts of yourself that you just build up stories about what’s actually going on as to what is.”
Having come out, Finnegan is ready to share his story with the world, if only to help people in a similar situation.
“I do want to get my story out there,” he said. “I feel that the more people who can come out and tell their story, 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 out there,” he continued.