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Sophie McKinna: ‘People should feel free to live how they choose’

Sophie McKinna

Sophie McKinna is a six-time national shot put champion who represented Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and has contested world, European and Commonwealth finals. Last year, she chose to speak publicly about her sexuality for the first time. As part of BBC Sport’s Pride Month series, she shares her story.

A happy athlete is a performing athlete. Any athlete will tell you that.

When you are able to be yourself, to be happy and free, performances follow. Last month I produced my furthest throw in two years.

I wish I had spoken openly about my sexuality years ago – and I’d definitely say to my younger self ‘get a move on’.

I am a completely different person since I first spoke openly [about being gay] on The LGBT Sport Podcast in April 2023. Now I’m no longer worried. There’s no more paranoia. I post openly on social media, something I had never done previously.

It was a decision I weighed up for well over a year. To anyone in a similar position I would say definitely do it, don’t hesitate. It was one of the most freeing experiences for me.

I never feel like I have to hide myself in situations anymore. I no longer have the stress and anxiety. Myself and my partner are currently planning our wedding, which is something I would never previously have dreamed of saying openly because I was so worried about what people would think.

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