Five prominent sports personalities that have come out as gay in public

Martin Navratilova declared her sexuality after taking US citizenship, but tragedy struck footballer Justin Fashanu
• Hitzlsperger joins list of gay sports stars

Justin Fashanu Football

Justin Fashanu broke new barriers being the first footballer publicly to come out. However, his was a story of tragedy. He played for more than 20 clubs, including a brief stint in the US and upon his retirement in 1998 he took his own life in his flat in London over fears he would be facing a lengthy jail sentence after claims of a sexual assault on a 17-year-old boy.

Steven Davies Cricket

The England wicketkeeper was the first and remains the only openly gay cricketer. Of his decision to come out he said his friends and team-mates had known for some a while. At the time, the England team director Andy Flower said: "Steve's private life is his own concern. It has absolutely no bearing on his ability to excel at the very highest level in international sport."

Robbie Rogers Football

The American came out in February 2013 and immediately retired. However he made a return to football three months later, joining LA Galaxy. In a blog post published last year he said: "People love to preach about honesty, how honesty is so plain and simple. Try explaining to your loved ones after 25 years you are gay."

Martina Navratilova Tennis

The nine-time Wimbledon singles champion became the first openly homosexual tennis player in 1981, shortly after she gained US citizenship. In 2000, she was the recipient of the National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian activist/lobbying group.

Gareth Thomas Rugby

Thomas represented Wales at both rugby union and rugby league. He is the third most capped Welsh rugby union player, with 100 Test caps and a further three playing for the British & Irish Lions. He announced publicly that he is gay in 2009 and, a year later, he received Stonewall's Hero of the Year award. © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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