Internet InfoMedia hurdles star trey cunningham comes out as gay
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Trey Cunningham said friends and peers reacted to his decision to come out with a shrug. He wishes the same was true for other men in elite sports.

Trey Cunningham found those first few phone calls excruciating. He has spent his life learning to keep his cool while out on the track, under intense pressure, in the glare of the crowd. But as he waited in the quiet for his family and his friends to pick up, waited to tell them he is gay, he found himself dripping with sweat. It was, he said, the “scariest thing I’ve ever done.”

He went through with it, at age 20, for much the same reason he is discussing it publicly now, five years later. There is a technique that Cunningham has long used in his training. “We say our goals out loud,” he said. “If there’s something we want to achieve, we say it. Putting something in words makes it real.”

That Cunningham — one of the leading high hurdlers in the world — is ready, and willing, to do that does not make him unique. He is not the first elite athlete, or even the first top American runner, to discuss their sexuality.

As one of the few active male athletes who have been comfortable enough to come out, Cunningham is, though, still a rarity. “There are lots of people who are in this weird space,” he said. “They’re not out. But it is kind of understood.”

For the last five years, that has been Cunningham’s reality, too. He had never really thought much about his sexuality in high school; he was too busy, he said, “hanging out with friends, having fun,” nursing dreams of playing for the Boston Celtics and then, almost to his surprise, discovering that he enjoyed “flinging myself at solid objects at high speed.”

It was in college when he started to “explore the idea,” but there was no sudden realization, no lightbulb moment. “It took me a while to know it felt right,” he said.

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