Australian Olympic Medallist Speaks Out On HIV Status
Posted by Chris Kilby on Wed 08 Aug 2012 at 11:25
Former Olympian, Ji Wallace, publicly reveals HIV status in a letter to Austraila’s Star Observer.
Wallace, who won a silver medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as a trampolinist, was inspired to make the public declaration about his diagnosis during his time in London after seeing an interview on CNN given by US diver Greg Louganis.
Louganis won four gold and a silver medal at the Olympics between 1976 and 1988 before coming out as both gay and HIV-positive in a 1995 autobiography.
“I have been contemplating writing this for a while,” Wallace said. “I caught a CNN Piers Morgan interview with Greg Louganis here in London. It made me think and think and I couldn’t sleep, so I wrote.”
Being seen does have value. A voice does have value.
“I felt inspired to write. I too am an Olympic medal winner living with HIV,” Wallace said. “I have never publicly disclosed this before but felt inspired by [the] interview… and by Anderson Cooper’s ‘coming out’ letter last month describing ‘value in being seen and heard’ in the face of disturbing violence, bullying, persecution and condemnation by peers, colleagues, government officials and worst of all family and friends. I too have been that victim of these atrocious behaviours. Luckily I managed to come through.”
Wallace went on to tell the Observer that, “I am doing it to raise awareness of this issue. It is still here. Being seen does have value. A voice does have value. I have the support of my boyfriend, my great friends and my loving parents. Many do not and this is, in part, for them.”
Wallace came out publicly as gay in 2005 and was the first Australian to be named a Gay Games Ambassador. He is in London for the 2012 Games to view the men’s trampoline event and is also a guest of honour at several functions with the Olympic Pride House for LGBTI athletes.
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