The New Zealand Olympic diving team will include Anton Down-Jenkins in Tokyo later this month. Not only is Down-Jenkins the first male diver in decades to qualify for the New Zealand Olympic diving team, but he is the first openly gay New Zealander on the team ever, reports Star Observer.
Jenkins announced on his Instagram on May 26 that he would be attending the Olympics on the diving team. He wrote, “Stoked is an absolute understatement – I don’t quite have the words right now, but just want to say a massive thank you to everyone that has supported me up until this point.”
“It’s been a rough few years, but that past 12 months have been an absolute dream and I cannot wait to represent the big NZ in Tokyo later this year,” said the 21 year-old diver.
Jenkins has never been one to shy away from his sexuality, openly professing his LGBTQIA+ identity with pride. In an interview with Zoe George from Stuff the diver discussed how he believes representation and visibility is important. “There isn’t enough LGBTQIA+ representation in the [sport] media, which is why I felt the need to bring it forward and to publicly announce that I am a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
In another Instagram post Jenkins says, “I’ve not talked a whole bunch on social media about my sexuality, but came to the conclusion that leading up to the Olympics, my platform is going to grow.
“If I can be part of the LGBTQ+ representation that I missed out on growing up and that is still lacking, then I reckon I’m going to do just that,” he wrote.