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Columbia Missourian: Ex-diver Greg DeStephen first openly gay Missouri University athlete


COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Greg DeStephen dealt with being outed as gay, having hostile teammates and diving with a broken back his freshman year, but none of it stopped him from becoming a four-time All-American diver at Missouri.

He is also the only Missouri athlete to publicly say he is gay while actively competing, the Columbia Missourian (http://bit.ly/1evXQf1 ) reports.

DeStephen qualified for the NCAA Championship meet three of his four years at Missouri. He earned All-Big 12 honors a dozen times from 2007 to 2010. He made the U.S. national team in 2010 for the Canada Cup.

But after his first semester at Missouri, he felt ready to leave. He considered transferring to his hometown Ohio State Buckeyes.

"He would come and talk to me about it," says Aimee Hukill, a member of the women's swim team from 2005 to 2009. "He would be like, 'I need to leave Missouri. I don't want to be here.'"

Not much more could have gone wrong his first semester. He pleaded guilty to alcohol possession. He broke a bone in his right hand. He got E. coli poisoning. He dove for months with a misdiagnosed fracture in his spine. And he developed mononucleosis.

But the toughest challenge came when a teammate broke his trust and told the rest of the team that he was gay without his permission.

DeStephen went on a date a couple months into his freshman year — his first date with a guy.

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