Who is Colin Jackson? Strictly Come Dancing star and Olympic hurdler who came out as gay at 50

COLIN Jackson has gone down in history as one of Britain's finest athletics stars, who has since gone on to carve out a career as a sports presenter.

The 50-year-old Welshman hit headlines for a different reason this year when he came out as gay. Here's everything you need to know about the sporting icon and former Strictly star who is returning to the ballroom this Christmas.

Born in 1967, the Cardiff boy quickly singled himself out as a keen sportsman. It wasn't until he met athletics coach Malcolm Arnold that his potential as a competitive athletics champ began to spike.

Winning the gold at the 1986 World Junior Championships in the high hurdles. Following this he entered the senior ranks, and just three years later bagged a silver at the 1986 Commonwealth Games. He quickly established himself as a dominant force in the field for Great Britain and went on to represent the country at the 1986 Olympics in Seoul, where he bagged a silver.

His medal total includes: 12 Gold medals, eight silver, and one bronze.

Colin retired from sport in 2003, bowing out at the 2003 World Indoor Championships. He subsequently went on to coach his friend Mark Foster until his retirement in 2006.

At the same time he moved into TV and worked as a commentator and pundit for the BBC at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

in 2005 he took part in Strictly Come Dancing, and came in second place. He narrowly missed out on the top spot after he lost out to Darren Gough.

He returned to the ballroom in 2006 for the show's Christmas Special that year.

He has continued his work in TV since, and has also appeared on the likes of Who Do You Think You Are? and Celebrity Masterchef.

Up until this summer the former sportsman had refused to talk about his sexuality in public, instead maintaining a private stance on the subject.

However, in 2017 he opened up about coming out to his parents as gay in an interview for a Swedish TV programme, Rainbow Heroes.

He recalled the story of how he came out his parents about being a gay man 11 years ago after an ex-partner sold a story about him.

Colin explained: "I was waiting for them in the kitchen. They walked in and they sat down.

"My mother could see my face was quite distraught. It didn't phase them at all.

"I said 'it's in the paper about me and this bloke.' It didn't phase them at all.

"My mum went first of all 'is the story true?'

"And I said 'it's true, so it's not like I can deny it.' And then she went 'well, why are people so disgraceful?'

"I just realised, I've got the best parents."

He was convinced to open up by Swedish TV alongside former athletes Kajsa Bergqvist and long jumper Peter Haggstrom.

Jackson was asked if he previously wanted to talk about it, he replied: "No, no, never."

Bergqvist asked: "So why today?"

He said: "Because you asked! There's no better reason.

"The way you asked me was a whole storytelling kind of thing and you were just interested in the way it affected me sport-wise, emotionally and my preparation.

"Lots of people who've asked before about it have wanted it sensationalised."

Clearly unable to stay away from ballroom dancing following his previous stints on the show, Colin has signed up for this year's festive edition of the show.

He was originally partnered with Erin Boag, but he is back this year with Amy Dowden.

They will be dancing the Rumba to Run by Leona Lewis.

The Strictly Come Dancing special will air on Christmas Day at 6.30pm on BBC One.

It will then be available to stream and download on the BBC iPlayer.

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Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/5195795/colin-jackson-strictly-come-dancing-star-olympic-hurdler/

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