Wesley Campbell doesn’t look like a gay figure skater. At 1.90 meters tall, Campbell towers over many of his peers with his muscular physique.
In public, he says he wears cowboy boots and dresses “like a straight guy.”
But appearances, as we know, can be deceiving. Campbell was a gay man for most of his life. Recently professional figure skater and trainer sat down with Outsports and told his story.
“When I was 10, I knew I was attracted to men,” he said. “I don’t think I was ever exactly there [the closet], and I had this self-confidence that ultimately was: If someone didn’t like me, then they didn’t like me. And I just had to deal with it. It’s not easy for anyone, but for me it wasn’t particularly difficult. When I was at the age where I could make some decisions, it wasn’t scary for me.”
Despite stereotypes to the contrary, there aren’t many of our male figure skaters who compete at the professional level. But there are more than other sports.
Eight gay male skaters competed in last year’s Winter Olympics, including French gold medalist Guillaume Cizeron, dreamy ice dancer Lewis Gibson and the legendary Eric Radford. Campbell was with Radford this year when he toured for the show Holiday on ice.
Campbell’s travels included 137 shows in 29 countries.
A competitive solo skater, Campbell represented the United States at the World Junior Championships, winning three titles.
As the Outsports article points out, his best senior finish was seventh place in 2008, behind three of the greatest Americans to ever lace up skates: Evan Lysacek, Johnny Weir and Jeremy Abbott.
Over the years, Campbell turned to acting and even secured a spot Moderator 2. He toured as part of Willy Bietak Broadway on iceArt on Ice and Carre’s Art on ice. The latter took him to gay-friendly Switzerland; The latter brought him to Oman, one of the worst countries in the world for LGBTQ+ people.
Appearing for the sultan in Oman’s capital, Campbell said the oil-rich country’s elites had been overwhelmed by his efforts.
“We had to have discussions with the office about how to make certain things on social media private, so that wasn’t a problem,” he told Outsports. “We were very cared for and protected. Doing something for the Sultan, security was not a problem.
“And they loved it.”
It’s easy to see why! Campbell’s career has taken him around the world, from Germany to Colombia.
Although Campbell has received overtures to pursue his professional career, he is now focused on coaching. He says he works with some of the most promising young skaters in the world.
“In my first season as a full-time head coach, I was very fortunate to have athletes who showed up, trusted the process and gave their best day in and day out,” he wrote on Instagram this week.
Often the only out skater on the ice, Campbell knows the importance of visibility. He wants to provide a gay role model for younger skaters and show them that it’s okay to be expressive in all venues.
“I hate it. I wish it was just about people doing their thing and being who they are,” he said.
When it comes to that, Campbell definitely does his part.
Does anyone know if he needs a travel companion for his next world tour?