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Proud: My Autobiography By Gareth Thomas

Release date: 20th September, 2014
Publisher: Ebury Press

List Price: Ł20.00
Our Price: Ł10.00
You Save: Ł10 (50%)
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Rugby is a sport renowned for being well populated with dominant, hard-as-nails characters, leaders you would happily follow into battle. From Willie John McBride to Martin Johnson and a host of others in between, the sport’s tough physical nature propels such men to the fore, moulding them into modern-day sporting warriors.

Though not a giant forward, Gareth Thomas fell into this category during an accomplished playing career that saw him captain Wales and the British & Irish Lions. His international career spanned twelve years, a period during which this teak-tough man of Bridgend won 100 Welsh caps and scored forty tries, including the longest-ever interception try (of more than 90 yards) ever seen at the old Arms Park.

Thomas was no angel on the pitch: in 2005, he was found guilty of assault while playing for Toulouse, although he would help them to the Heineken Cup the following year.

Autobiographies have been written by those who have achieved considerably less sporting success than Gareth Thomas, yet in December 2009, the Welshman took what, in hindsight, appears to have been his bravest step. Though used to tackling man-mountains intent on ripping his head off, Thomas’s biggest challenge was to be honest with himself. He was gay and five years ago, he decided the time had come to tell the world.

Suddenly, he wasn’t just a rugby superstar, he became the world’s most prominent athlete to come out as a gay man.

His secret, he reveals, was slowly killing him. He had grown tired of lying to family and friends and simply wanted to be honest with them. His aggressive, on-field persona had been an attempt to disguise his sexuality, primarily because he believed that people couldn’t possibly assume that the toughest, hardest rugby player many of them had ever seen was gay.

This is a fascinating, often deeply moving story which shows that while sport initially defined who Gareth Thomas was, everything changed when another facet of his life was revealed. His autobiography confirms that not only was Thomas a fierce competitor, he’s also admirably brave – and now happily content.


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