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Justin Fashanu, the first black footballer to command a £1m transfer fee and also the first - and so far only - openly gay top footballer. He committed suicide at the age of 37 in May 1998.BBC
Gareth Thomas, the former Wales rugby captain, was the team's second highest scorer. In 2010, Sports Illustrated magazine said he was the only openly gay male athlete in the world, though two others have come out since then: Brazilian volleyball player Michael Dos Santos and Sweedish footballer Anton Hysen.Reuters
Martina Navratilova, who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, nine of them at Wimbledon, came out publicly about her sexuality in 1981Reuters
Ian Roberts, the Australian rugby player turned actor, came out in 1995 and was the first person in the history of the game to do soWikipedia
Steven Davis, the England wicket-keeper, revealed he, too, is gay in February 2011, becoming the first person in the sport to do soReuters
Mathew Mitcham, the Australian diver who won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, claims that being open about his sexuality cost him sponsorship moneyReuters
Billie-Jean King was one of the most successful female tennis players in history, winning 12 Grand Slam titles, 16 Grand Slam women's doubles titles and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles during her career. She was 'outed' in 1981 by her female lover, Marilyn Barnett, who filed a 'palimony suit'.Reuters
Nigel Owens, the Welsh international rugby union referee, came out in 2007. He relates the experience in his autobiography, Half Time, published this year.Reuters
Donal Og Cusack, who won five Munster GAA Hurling Championships, became the first elite Irish sportsman to reveal he was gay when his autobiography, Come What May, was released in 2009Queerty
John Amaechi retired from his illustrious career as a NBA player in 2004. He uttered the G-word three years later in his autobiography, Man in the Middle.Reuters
Greg Louganis, the US diver who won back-to-back Olympic gold in 1984 and 1988, disclosed his sexuality in his autobiography Breaking the Surface (1996), in which he also revealed that he has AIDS. The book spent five weeks at number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.Reuters
The BBC3 documentary Britain's Gay Footballers, presented by Amal Fashanu, the niece of the only ever openly gay British professional footballer, Justin Fashanu, has touched on a major issue in sport: the small number of athletes who have been open about their sexuality.
Many believe their careers could suffer as a result of them coming out, or that their fans might turn against them, especially in the aggressive, male-orientated realms of rugby and football.
The programme was to feature contributions from comedian and gay football fan Matt Lucas; publicist Max Clifford, who reveals he has helped Premier League stars keep their homosexuality secret in order to preserve their careers; and Joey Barton, who has a gay uncle and blames football's homophobia on some of the "archaic figures" who run the game.
We take a look at the top 10 sports stars who were honest about their sexuality, many of whom were applauded for their decision.
This article was updated November 30, -0001 00:00 AM