British race walker Tom Bosworth says he “had a little cry to himself in a field” while walking his dog after hearing the Olympics had been postponed.
Bosworth, 30, was shaping up well for Tokyo after setting back-to-back new British records for 5,000m and 10,000m earlier this year.
Those achievements came just days before the coronavirus lockdown began.
“We’d just got so much right through the winter,” Bosworth told the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast. “All the hard work was kind of perfect and it all ground to a halt.”
Bosworth, who trains in Leeds but competes for Tonbridge AC, won silver in the 20km race walk at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Tokyo would have been his second Olympics, having finished sixth in the 20km final at Rio 2016.
He continued: “I was pushing myself every day, just ticking every box every day – good sleep, eating well, training well, focusing on the important things.
“I’m not going to lie, I took the dog for a walk, had a little cry to myself in the field. Thankfully no-one else was around.
“I threw the ball for the dog and went home and said ‘OK, athletes adapt’. I know how I got myself in this shape, and I know I can do it again next year.”
‘I never realised how big of a deal it was’
Bosworth is one of only a few openly gay athletes, and proposed to his fiancé on Copacabana Beach during the Rio Olympics.
Asked about the progression of LGBTQ+ rights since he came out in 2015, Bosworth said: “I don’t feel like we’ve moved on at all, if I’m honest, unfortunately.
“It opened my eyes to a real world that I didn’t know anything about – LGBT inclusion in sport, or lack of and lack of representation there.
“It’s more ‘how do we make it a norm, make it comfortable for people to live openly, rather than have to come out’.
“I never realised how big of a deal coming out publicly as a sportsman was until it happened. That became clear to me over the years, just how few LGB people are in sport, let alone LGBT, and reaching out to the rest of the community is going to come even further down the line before that becomes the norm or just commonplace.
“So it’s disappointing – it’s changing really slowly though.”