Bisexual trampolinist Luke Strong was mocked and called “gay” by kids at school because of his love for gymnastics, he has revealed.
“When I got to high school it kind of got a little bit rough,” Strong said.
“The kids started to make the jokes, ‘Oh you do gymnastics and you wear a leotard so you must be gay.’
“There was a period of time where it was difficult and I kind of separated my gymnastics life from school life.
“It was like I was leading two lives because I just wouldn’t bring it up in school or talk about it or bring attention to it just to save the jokes.”
Strong continued: “Then once I left school, I got to do what I love.”
Champion trampolinist Luke Strong pursued his passion despite backlash from bullies.
The 27-year-old British champion trampolinist said he was “lucky” because his family and coach always pushed him to keep pursuing his passion.
“My parents and my friends at the gym and my coaches were all really supportive and said, ‘School life doesn’t last forever and once you leave you’ll forget all of the memories and probably not even really have contact with a lot of the people,’” he said.
“So I just always had at the back of my head, ‘Eventually this will be over and I’ll get to do what I love.
Strong also spoke about his incredible decision to come out as bisexual last month, and revealed that it wasn’t exactly a carefully planned moment.
“I was asked a question and was just honest about it,” he said.
“I’d never been asked before so I guess that’s why I had never spoken about it.
“To be honest I didn’t expect anyone to care. I did the interview thinking nothing would come about it.
The kids started to make the jokes, ‘Oh you do gymnastics and you wear a leotard so you must be gay.’
“It wasn’t until two weeks later that I woke up in the morning, looked at my phone and it had gone crazy. There were articles everywhere.”
Strong added: “I still think it is important for people at the top of their sport or the thing that they do to be honest because I don’t remember as a kid there ever being a role model or someone for me.
“If I can help one kid in trampolining, or one person in the world to be comfortable and happy with who they are then I guess it was worth it.”
Speaking to the BBC Sounds LGBT Sports Podcast last month, Strong said his close friends and family had known for some about his sexuality.
“I’ve never hidden anything and I’m really open about the fact that I’m attracted to both sexes, male and female, but I’ve never been in a relationship with either of them so I don’t know,” he said.