Openly gay gymnast Josh Dixon was not named to the men’s gymnastics team after the 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials in San Jose this past weekend. Dixon finished 13th out of 15 competitors and was not named as one of three alternates either.
The 22-year-old gymnast—who is Black and Japanese—publicly came out last month and hoped to become the very “first out American gymnast at the Olympics”.
In fact, Dixon said he has not had a single negative response “in any way, shape or form.” If anything, the only homophobia he has encountered has been from within himself. He acknowledges he once felt internal pressure about being a gay man in what some label the “gay sport” of gymnastics. He didn’t want to fall into a stereotype. But he’s come to embrace it, and he says his sexual orientation now makes him stand out more at the elite level. While he stands out, he isn’t the only one. Dixon knows of at least three more gay gymnasts still competing in college, and he says he is not the only elite-level American gymnast who is gay.
One concern that remains is the judges. Gymnastics is one of only a handful of Olympic sports hand out medals based on the scores of judges. While some claimed figure skater Johnny Weir’s perceived sexual orientation hurt him with the judges in the 2010 Winter Olympics, it certainly did not play a factor when Matthew Mitcham posted the highest-scoring dive in Olympic history in 2008.
When asked about the timing of this article and how it may affect his performance in the eyes of the judges or Olympic selection committee, Dixon had no fear.