Double Olympic champion Nicola Adams has opened up about her experiences coming out and facing up to prejudice in boxing.
The Team GB star recalls lying awake at night worrying before she eventually told her mum she was bi: “It took a lot of courage … I knew one other person in my school who was the same and we talked. We hadn’t come out and we were thinking, ‘What is the best approach? How do I tell my mum?’
“You never know how the family is going to react, so I was nervous”, the boxer told GQ in a wide-ranging interview published today.
“Mum was in the kitchen washing up and I was like, ‘I’ve got something to tell you.’ … I was really sweating, and she says, ‘What’s wrong?’ And I was just like, ‘I’m bisexual.’ And she was like, ‘OK, put the kettle on.’ She said she kind of already knew.”
Adams later wished she had said something sooner: “I was expecting some big reaction and I’m thinking, ‘Why have I been stressing about this for months?’”
Asked whether it was difficult being photographed in public with her partner, who is also a boxer, for the first time, the fighter said she was fortunate never to have had a bad reaction to her sexuality: “Racism, yes. Sexism, yes, in boxing – people saying women shouldn’t box. I’ve never come across homophobia.”
Adams hopes to use her celebrity to inspire others: “I would like to do more for the LGBT community, try to help people. I can’t do as much as I would like because of the training.”
It’s a goal she has nevertheless made progress on, winning the ‘Paving The Way’ award at last week’s Mobos.
Adams has now set her sights on the Tokyo 2020 games, where she hopes to make history by becoming Britain’s first three-time Olympic boxing champ.