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Meet the out and proud gay men representing their country at the Rio Olympic Games

2016-08-04
Back in 2008, now-retired Australian diver Matthew Mitcham - who has now retired from professional sport was the only gay male athlete to compete in the Beijing Olympic games. Heading into Rio eight years later, and that number has shot up to 10. And in news Brits can be proud of before the first starting gun has even sound, almost half of those are representing Team GB. So without further ado, let us introduce you to the out and proud gay men representing their countries at this year's games below: Tom Bosworth - Great Britain PIC-2-3808-1024x590 26-year-old Tom was the first male track and field star to come out as gay when he made the announcement in 2015. Speaking of his responsibility as an LGBT role model, the race-walker, who missed out on the London 2012 games by mere seconds, said "Whether I can support and help one person or 100 people, that is a job for me now". Tom Daley - Great Britain 2678748.main_image (1) Tom Daley became the poster boy for the 2012 Olympics after competing at the 2008 Beijing games at just the tender age of 14. The diver and former Attitude cover star, who won bronze for the 10 metre platform event at the London Olympics, came out via YouTube video in 2013, and has since entered a high-profile relationship with writer and producer Dustin Lance Black. Edward Gal - Netherlands edward-gal (1) Dutch dressage star Edward Gal was a triple gold medallist at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games, and also won bronze at the 2012 London games. He'll be joined by his long term partner, Hans Peter Minderhoud, at the Rio games - the first Olympics the pair have competed together in as a couple. Carl Hester - Great Britain Carl Hester Nettex In 1992, Carl became the youngest rider to compete at the Olympic games. The 49 year old has continued to deliver for Team GB, taking gold in the 2012 summer games and a whole host of other medal positions at the World and European championships. In 2013 he was honoured with an MBE for services to equestrianism - will a gold medal at Rio see him knighted? Ari-Pekka Liukkonen - Finland 5353560 27 year old Ari Pekka holds the Finnish record for the 50m freestyle swim, coming in at 21.93 seconds. The swimmer came out in 2015, saying that he wanted to “ start a broader discussion in connection with Sochi, because it’s sad that the legislation in Russia restricts the human rights of young people and others". Robbie Manson - New Zealand 08b5806f32abbf237a50ecf7cfb5e594 (1) Having initially struggled to accept his sexuality, rower Robbie announced that he was "not only proud to be gay", but "glad" that he is, in 2014. The athlete can often be seen competing while wearing a rainbow headband, helping to increase his visibility as an LGBT athlete. Hans Peter Minderhoud - Netherlands minderhoud_2532016 (1) Hans, who's competing alongside partner Edward Gal at the Rio games, competed in both team and solo dressage events in Beijing, 2008 and went on to win a silver medal for the team event. Ian Matos - Brazil IanMatos400 (1) Diver Ian came out in 2014, despite being advised not to do so until after the Rio Games. At the time, the athelete feared it may affect his career - but with him set to represent his country on home ground, it looks as though honesty was the best policy after all. Jeffrey Wammes - Netherlands large Jeffrey Wammes came out publicly in 2011, saying "there was already a lot of speculation about whether or not I fell for boys or girls. To me it has nothing to do with sport or how I perform. But when I was asked to do this, I made it clear straight away how things were and that’s that.” The gymnast missed out on London 2012 after injuring his knee, but is back to fighting fitness for the Rio games. Spencer Wilton - Great Britain spencer Internaitonal dressage star Spencer will compete in his first Olympics this year. The rider previously came under tabloid scrutiny after it was alleged that he was involved in the breakdown of Katie Price and Peter Andre's marriage. However those rumours were soon put to bed when he came out. Good luck, boys! The Rio Olympics opening ceremony will be broadcast from 11.40pm on BBC One tomorrow (August 5). More stories: Nick Jonas and Bear Grylls strip off and get wet in the wild - WATCH 'This is no time for hestiation - PrEP's effectiveness has been proven'