Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kerron Clement came out as gay on October 11, National Coming Out Day, during an event celebrating a new rainbow track at Los Angeles City College.
“I was hiding that part because of what society thought,” the track star told Outsports.com. “But it’s OK to be that way. Nothing is wrong with loving someone of the same gender. Love is love. I have an attraction to men. It’s who I am and it’s what made me become the athlete I am today.”
Clement, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago and moved to the United States in 1998, has enjoyed tremendous success throughout his career dating back more than a decade. He started making history before he even entered the Olympic spotlight: In 2005, he shattered the indoor world record for the 400-meter sprint when he posted a time of 44.57 seconds.
Clement’s team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics nabbed the gold medal in the 4×400-meter before he went on to earn another gold medal — this time in the 400 meter hurdles — at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
He also received four gold medals and a bronze medal at the World Championships.
Clement, who turns 34 on Halloween, explained that he came out because he has grown to worry less about what others think about his sexual orientation.
“As I’ve gotten older I started caring less and less, and now in my 30s I thought it’s time to finally be free,” he said. “Plain and simple.”
While his professional athletic future is not quite clear at this time, he feels that a burden has been lifted from his shoulders — and that’s particularly important because his sexual orientation is a key part of his identity, explaining that being an out gay professional track and field athlete “made me become who I am today.”