A local star of the Sydney Olympics in 2000, trampolinist Ji Wallace has today confirmed he’s living with HIV.
The silver medalist says he was moved to go public with his HIV status after seeing CNN’s Piers Morgan talk to out American diver Greg Louganis about his own experience of living with HIV, and by TV journalist Anderson Cooper’s coming out recently.
In a letter to the Star Observer, Wallace says he’s contemplated speaking publicly about his status for a while.
“I felt inspired to write. I too am an Olympic medal winner living with HIV,” the 35-year-old wrote.
“I have never publicly disclosed this before but felt inspired by [the] interview… and by Anderson Cooper’s ‘coming out’ letter last month describing ‘value in being seen and heard’ in the face of disturbing violence, bullying, persecution and condemnation by peers, colleagues, government officials and worst of all family and friends.
“I too have been that victim of these atrocious behaviours. Luckily I managed to come through.”
“Being seen does have value,” he adds. “A voice does have value. I have the support of my boyfriend, my great friends and my loving parents. Many do not and this is, in part, for them.”
The Lismore-born athlete came out publicly as gay in 2005. In recent years he’s been working as a personal trainer and motivational speaker.