Legendary British diver Daley ‘didn’t know Australia was so homophobic’

“There are powerful stories of athletes coming to these Pride Houses who were overwhelmed to be in a place that positively reflected who they are,” Jon Holmes, from the Pride House management team, said. “In Glasgow, a delegation from Botswana walked into the house and the women were visibly moved to be somewhere where they could be authentic themselves.”

Jamaican former swimmer Michael Gunning Only beginning to feel authentic after its release in 2018. Coming from a country considered one of the most homophobic places in the world, his reluctance was understandable.

be at one Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in 2017 in which a suicide bomber killed 22 people was a game-changer, however.

“This experience and being so close to death meant that I really wanted to help people,” said Gunning, who will be the in-house commentator for the swimming events. I had struggled for so long. I was so afraid to go out. But I wanted to help people. If not me, then who? So I don’t regret going out when I did.

“There have been so many Caribbean athletes who have approached me since I did; so many people in Jamaica and countries where it’s illegal, people who share this burden with me. With all the death threats I’ve received, all the hate I’ve had, all the positivity has been worth it.

Gunning also features in a documentary hosted by Daley, who visited Commonwealth countries where it is illegal – and in some cases punishable by death – to be gay.

The Commonwealth Games Federation is committed to making Birmingham the most inclusive of all. Earlier this month it ruled that no country would be awarded accommodation rights if it had anti-gay laws.

Adam Peaty is one of the local headliners for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.Credit:Getty

Peaty’s blinker

One of the biggest stars of these games is the English swimmer peated adam. Perhaps the biggest, though, is Netflix’s Peaky Blinderswhich centers on a Birmingham-based criminal gang in 1919.

Peaty was at the center of That of the mirror cover Friday, dressed as an extra on the hit series. Resplendent in a flat cap and a menacing expression on his face, the 27-year-old even has a gun slung over his shoulder.

No bull - it wouldn't be an opening ceremony without a giant animal.

No bull – it wouldn’t be an opening ceremony without a giant animal.Credit:Pennsylvania

He is also a weapon in the chlorine and is looking to overcome a broken foot that sidelined him from the world championships when he competed in the 100m breaststroke. A three-time Olympic champion, he has won six Commonwealth Games gold medals in the past.

Hurleys in song

The official cheerleaders for Team Australia are the Governor General David Hurley and his wife Lindawho quickly became a cult hero among athletes.

At a reception in the Athletes’ Village, she sang a rousing rendition of You are my sun – then asked the athletes to do the same, facing the person sitting next to them.

The other star of the team so far is the mission leader Petria Thomaswho is no longer the shy peasant girl of Mullumbimby on the NSW Northern Rivers.

She relished the role, greeting each member of the team as they entered the Athletes’ Village, regardless of the time of day.

Comedian Lenny Henry didn't get the memo saying you don't have to be good at sports to enjoy it.

Comedian Lenny Henry didn’t get the memo saying you don’t have to be good at sports to enjoy it.Credit:Getty

THE QUOTE
“No, I’ve never been good at sports.” – Mister comedian Lenny Henry, during BBC coverage of the opening ceremony, when asked if he had bought tickets for any events. Uh, okay then.

THUMBS UP
The opening ceremony, inspired by Peaky Blinders’ Creator Steven Knight, was a ripper. He did not paint on Birmingham’s troubled past, but beautifully celebrated its diversity and creativity. The huge bull, which represents the historic bullring in central Birmingham, was the star of the show.

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THUMBS DOWN
There are strict COVID-19 restrictions around the Athletes’ Village, but the sneaky little virus is starting to infect a handful of competitors, including the Australian javelin thrower world champion Kelsey Lee Barber. Fun fact: A rapid antigen test here costs just two pounds, or around AU$3.50.

IT’S A GREAT DAY TWO OF THE GAMES FOR…
Emma McKeonwho is aiming for the all-time medal record of Ian Thorpe, Leisel Jones and Susie O’Neill. She competes in the 100m butterfly and the 4x100m freestyle.

IT’S AN EVEN BIGGER SECOND DAY FOR…
Beach Volleyball, to be held in the heart of the city at Smithfield Market Place. Look, this isn’t Bondi Beach or Copacabana. But sand is sand and Australian male duo Paul Burnett and Chris McHugh take on the power of the Maldives.

Get all the latest Birmingham Commonwealth Games news here. We’ll be blogging live on the action from 4-10 a.m. daily.

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