BBC presenter and former Olympic hurdler Colin Jackson has come out as gay.
The track star talked openly about his sexuality on a programme called Rainbow Heroes, which is being aired on Swedish broadcaster SVT.
Speaking with Swedish LGBT former athletes – high-jumper Kajsa Bergqvist and long-jumper Peter Häggström – Jackson said he had not come out earlier because he did not want the story ‘sensationalised’.
BBC presenter and former Olympic athlete Colin Jackson has come out as gay
Jackson, pictured in 1991, said he decided to reveal that he is gay on Rainbow Heroes because it was dedicated to showing how his sexuality affected him personally
He said he decided to reveal that he is gay on Rainbow Heroes because the programme was dedicated to showing how his sexuality affected him personally.
Jackson, 50, said: ‘The way you asked me, it was a whole storytelling kind of thing and you were just interested in the way it affected me sports-wise, emotionally-wise and my preparation.’
In 2006, a year after he came second in the third series of Strictly Come Dancing, the athlete became the subject of a kiss-and-tell story in the now defunct News of the World.
It featured an interview with a gay airline steward who claimed to have had a secret affair with the star.
The story led to Jackson coming out to his parents though he continued to insist that he was straight in public.
He denied the rumours in a 2008 interview with The Voice newspaper in which he said that he enjoyed being single.
Speaking of the moment he revealed that he was gay to his parents, Jackson told SVT: ‘I was waiting for them in the kitchen. They walked in and they sat down. My mother could see my face and I was quite distraught. It didn’t faze them at all.’
Jackson said he had not come out earlier because he did not want the story ‘sensationalised’
Jackson (pictured centre) competing at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, eight years after he won silver in Seoul
He said after he told his parents the story was true his parents were very supportive.
‘I just realised, I’ve got the best parents,’ he said.
In 2008, Jackson said he did not believe there was a stigma against gay athletes.
Speaking to The Voice newspaper at the time, he said: ‘It’s the 21st century. I don’t think anybody thinks about that any more. There might have been a stigma in years gone by.’