Martin Cremin, former Scottish and French swimming champion, talks exclusively to KaleidoScot about his retirement from the sport and what the Commonwealth Games did for Glasgow, telling us he wants to encourage others to get involved in sport in his inspirational message.
“I really wanted to talk out to end any perception that as a gay person you cant participate in sport. Being gay has made absolutely no difference to my career as a swimmer at all. If I had a message to young swimmers just starting out who might be gay, I’d say it really doesn’t matter. The experience I had was very positive – never any homophobia or prejudice. It’s a very supportive, inclusive community, and for me being gay and a swimmer have never been an issue.”
Martin, who represented Scotland in the 1500m Freestyle in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow just a few weeks ago, said, “I don’t feel discriminated against in any way here at home or anywhere else I’ve been. I have a really supportive family and friends. My coach, managers and those I trained with have always been great. I knew if something did happen, though, that I had support available, especially through the Institute of Sport. I just hope someone might feel easier about taking part in sport after seeing that I’ve had a really good experience – that would be great.”
Discussing why some high profile sports-people have come out in recent years, such as Tom Daley and Ian Thorpe, he goes on to say, “Sometimes I think the pressure comes from the media constantly putting questions to these people. Nobody should be forced to come out and then become a role model, it should be their choice. I’m sure lots of people will have been inspired by them as gay sportsmen, but for me it just shouldn’t be an issue.”
Martin explains his own career has ended on a high, representing his country at a home Games. “Glasgow 2014 was just incredible. It was a once in a lifetime change and I enjoyed it so much. I just missed out on a place to the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi and from that point on I put everything into making the team for Glasgow in 2014. Once I made it to the pool [in Glasgow] and heard the home crowd cheering for the first time, it was just amazing. Seeing Team Scotland do so well, with Hannah Miley and Ross Murdoch racing were definite highlights for me – I think I lost my voice cheering them on!”
“Glasgow was the centre of the universe for 2 weeks and the atmosphere was amazing. It really shows the enthusiasm for sport in Glasgow, the people really got behind each of the sports. Seeing everyone cheering on all the athletes, especially all the home nation teams, we were great hosts.”
Martin has now retired from swimming, after a career which saw him take titles including French champion, British Universities Champion and Scottish Champion 2009 – 13. He is now focussed on a new career as a Police Officer and is using his free time as a Special Constable with Police Scotland to gain valuable experience.
“I’ve always been interested in the Police and have been working as part of a team in Central Scotland for a while. It wasnt convenient to join in the past due to my training regime but now it feels right for me.”
Asked how he felt about being featured in Attitude magazine earlier this summer, he says, “It was a bit of a surprise to be honest, but nice I guess. I dont ever Google myself, I dont read what people say too often about me – I dont really care that much!”
You can keep up with Martin on Twitter by following @martincrem.