Australia's First Openly Gay Bobsleder Simon Dunn Dies Suddenly

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday January 23, 2023

Simon Dunn
Simon Dunn  

Australia's first openly gay bobsled player and Sydney Convicts Rugby club representative Simon Dunn is dead at 35 after reportedly a "rough year of personal loss."

As reported by Daily Mail, Dunn's death was confirmed by police and his agent Ruby Rose Management after responding to a call that a body had been found in the apartment unit where he lived.

Shocking news to the sports world, Dunn broke ground in bobsledding and rugby. He was the first openly gay male to represent Australia in bobsled and was gearing up to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics before an injury ended his career. In rugby, Dunn competed with the Sydney Convicts, the only gay rugby club in the city of Sydney, Austrailia.

An elite athlete, Dunn was also well-known across many international communities as a ray of light and community advocate when it came to LGBTIAQ+ representation, equity and equality. advocacy and work in the arts.

Dunn boldly called out called out former Wallaby Israel Folau on Sky News for saying all gay people were going to hell.

"There is still homophobia in sport. It's a culture that has been created and embedded over decades and I think we're still at the tail end of that with the work we need to do to put an end to it," Dunn said at the time, the Daily Mail reports.

"Rugby is a more accepting sport but most of the negative feedback [is] from football supporters," he added.

Dunn also made headlines and drew attention to LGBTQIA+ acceptance in sports when he kissed his then-partner after the Sydney Convicts had won their grand final.

"We had won the league and my partner Felix was still playing. After the game I went over to him to give him a kiss to celebrate, which most athletes do with their partners when they win," he said about the moment. "One of the team mates got a photo of that. So I posted it thinking it's a nice photo, I could use my profile that there are gay athletes out there."

Upon the announcement of his death, the loss of Dunn as an advocate has been felt from fans and friends alike.

"Fly high @BySimonDunn 🕊💔," wrote gymnast Heath Thorpe, alongside a personal note about their friendship as fellow athletes.

DJ and drag performer Kitty Glitter also posted a touching tribute, writing, "I knew him as a young adorable teenager and watched him blossom into the beautiful man and talented outstanding sportsman. I am in shock and heartbroken ... We all loved [him] dearly."

Dunn was open about his mental health struggles following the bicep injury that ended his bobsled career.

"Trust me, the recovery was long & painful. Unable to work, insurance companies finding any excuse not to help," he posted.

Dunn then recently shared via social media that he ended a long-term relationship after celebrating their anniversary.

"As we just celebrated our 5 year anniversary, it became apparent our goals and journeys had changed," Dunn posted. "After a rough year of personal loss it became clear our time together was at a close and what we were looking for in life and partners had evolved."

He added, "I give him credit as it takes true love to know when to let someone go live their best lives which we have decided to do. Onwards x."

In a statement from Ruby Rose Management on Dunn's death, the company shared that Dunn "has passed leaving an amazing legacy," the Daily Mail reports.

Continuing, "Simon will be missed, not just for his sportsmanship, not just for his valued views on our community and sport but mostly for being who he was a genuine all-round nice guy, who had time for everyone."