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Champion long track speedskater Conor McDermott-Mostowy never hid being gay from his family, friends and fellow athletes, but he also wasn't one to decorate his locker with rainbow Pride flags either. The 22-year-old, who hails from the nation's capital, recently told Outsports he felt trepidation about coming out because of the negative stereotypes that portray gay men as non-athletic. But following his two-title performance at last week's U.S. National Championships in Utah, though, McDermott-Mostowy can't be bothered any longer with bogus stereotypes.
"I think I've kind of always had that at the back of my mind," McDermott-Mostowy explained. "I don't want to talk about being gay, because there's a stereotype that gay guys aren't athletic, and I don't want that to be held against me or used to justify a bad result."
But after last week's double victories in the Men's Mass Start and Men's 100 Meter races plus a bronze finish in the 1,500 meter race, the skating star said he's more than proven the fallacy of that stereotype.
"I've been uncomfortable with that," he said of the stereotype, "but I feel like at this point, no one can say anything."
McDermott-Mostowy said he was especially proud of his 1,000 meter finish, a personal best, and uncharacteristically yelled an expletive as he crossed the finish line.
"I'm pretty sure that they're going to have to bleep that out when I cross the finish line," he admitted.
The young speedskater has his eyes set on the 2022 Winter Olympics, hoping to earn a spot on Team USA. It will be a quick rise if he does make the team, as he only started long track skating five years ago. He made the switch from short track at the suggestion of a coach who felt his talents were better suited for a longer track. The coach was proven correct from the start, and McDermott-Mostowy has been speedily improving and making a name for himself ever since.
Unlike many queer athletes, McDermott-Mostowy had no great internal agony coming to terms with his sexuality, nor any stories of being ostracized by family and friends. His story is instead one of acceptance and affirmation. It's a coming out story with a happy ending, and he's telling it now in part to inspire other closeted athletes.
"If a happy coming out story, a happy athletic story, can help someone, that's great," he said, happily.