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Mark Tewksbury
(February 7, 1968 - living) Canada

Mark Tewksbury

Olympic swimmer

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Mark TewksburyMark is an out gay athlete and accomplished Canadian swimmer. He began his competitive swimming career at the age of eight, he then went on to become the University of Calgary's star swimmer and joined the Canadian national team in 1984. In 1988, Mark competed in his first Olympics in Seoul, winning the silver medal as part of the Canadian team in the 4 x 100 meter medley relay.

Mark set seven world records at the 1992 Olympic games in the 100-metre backstroke, as well as gold, silver, and bronze medals in Commonwealth Games competitions, seven medals in Pan Pacific competitions, and 21 National Championship titles. He was voted Swimmer of the Year in 1987, 1991, 1992, and 1993 by Swimming Canda.

Mark has not been very closeted since leaving swimming after the 1992 Olympics - he just hadn't discussed his orientation with the media or in public. He was seen in gay venues around Toronto even in 1992.

Mark TewksburyAlthough when "Frank" magazine tried to follow up on it then, Mark's agent had them publish a letter denying that Tewksbury was gay and even inventing a girlfriend, and in 1994 Tewksbury went to Australia rather than face the "outing" music -- but by May of this year, Toronto's gay magazine "Xtra!" ran a photo of him arm-in-arm with another man, his partner Benjamin Kiss.

In 1993, he launched the Mark Tewksbury Junior Swim Bursury to provide program and financial assistance to young swimmers across Canada. He has been a spokesperson for Children's Miracle Network, AIDS Walk Canada and Special Olympics where he served on the National Advisory Board.

After his 1993 retirement, Mark remained active in the international world of sport. As a member of the Canadian Olympic Association, Honorary Secretary of FINA's Athletes' Commission, executive Board Member of the Toronto 2008 Olympic bid, and athlete's representative on the IOC's 2004 Site Evaluation Commission, he was devoted to making the voice of athletes heard and promoting the true spirit of sport.

Mark TewksburyHe stunned the world in 1999, by stepping down from all his posts within the Olympic movement due to a loss of faith in leadership, as derived from the IOC's bribery scandal. He went on to co-found OATH (Olympic Advocates Together Honorably), the first independent, international, athlete-lead organization in the world dedicated to restoring the Olympic spirit and creating constructive solutions to the problems facing international sport. Mark is currently working as the chair of OATH.

As a motivational speaker, Mark continues to mesmerize groups of all ages with his honesty, sincerity, genuineness, humor and story telling. He has made frequent appearances on Canada's AM, CNN, ABC's "Good Morning America" and "Nightline" as well as at various special events.

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