Having recently joined the British Elite Athletes Association as ambassadors, Michael Gunning and Robyn Love sat down with the BBC to talk all things Pride Month.
As the ED&I and LGBTQ+ Ambassadors respectively, Gunning and Love are working to support athletes of all backgrounds with the BEAA, and to promote inclusion in sport.
Speaking on the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast, the pair explained their motivation for joining the BEAA and how they’re hoping to help the elite athlete community.
“When the role came up I was so proud to take it and ultimately share a bit of my knowledge,” Gunning said. “I know the BEAA gives so much to sport, to athletes, and really just allows them to confide in the organisation, give that confidential information and just open up.”
Love added: “The British Elite Athletes Association have actually helped me quite a few times over the years. I just know how valuable they are in supporting athletes and being that confidential person that you can lean on. Also just to help guide you through the policies and those bits and bobs.
“At the same time I think they’re a great link between the governing bodies and athletes, and trying to get the best out of both sides. When I saw this [job] come up, I thought: ‘What a fantastic opportunity.’ Coming from a team sport, trying to bring all of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes together like one big team, to me, there is strength in unity.”
The pair both have email addresses with the BEAA which athletes can use for advice, a chat, or to feel closer to the elite athlete community.
They are BEAA.EDI@britisheliteathletes.org for Gunning and BEAA.LGBTQ@britisheliteathletes.org for Love, with Gunning saying: “Sometimes it can be daunting to speak to strangers, but to actually hopefully speak to athletes who’ve been through it, so they can reach out to us personally and we can get back, I think is a great tool for athletes.”
Asked what advice she’d share with her younger self, Love ended the podcast by saying she wished she’d known of the support available to all elite athletes.
She singled the BEAA out in particular: “It’s about knowing what resources are available. When I first started I didn’t know about what was the BAC at the time, now the BEAA. I didn’t know what they could do to help and support me, so for me I’d like to go back and tell myself about this great organisation who not only want to support all athletes but there’s also a great opportunity to have a community.
“For us at the BEAA it’s about taking you out of your little bubble and creating a huge one of all athletes together.”
You can hear the full podcast by clicking here.
Lead image: Snooty Fox Images