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The reason I started with track & field was to compete at the Olympics one day. I signed up at the local track club Ymer when I was eight years old after watching the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984. Sixteen years later I competed in the long jump at the Sydney Olympics. A dream came true!
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What very few people knew was that I almost dropped out of track a year before. The anxiety of not fitting in was just too much and I was not close to being an Olympic athlete. By then, I had been in the closet for ten years and wanted to get away from sports. A few months before the Olympics, I came out. That changed everything! The first competition of the season I jumped over 8 meters for the first time. A few more competitions over 8 meters and I had qualified for the Olympics!
Looking back at this, I releasing that being yourself is where performance starts. Me and best friend, Kajsa Bergqvist got the opportunity in the TV-program ”Rainbow Heroes” to meet more gay athletes from all over the world. The program actually won the Venice TV Award in 2018! The program showed that we are just in the beginning of a transformation on letting people be who they are. I also got the opportunity to write a letter to myself as a 13 year old child, dreaming of a future in sports. But also realizing that he is gay.