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Stockport Metro Swimmer Michael Gunning – ‘an inspiration to people of colour’

Stockport Metro Swimmer Michael Gunning – ‘an inspiration to people of colour’

16/12/20

While in the pool Michael is training hard for the Tokyo Olympics, outside of the pool he is working hard to encourage and inspire more black people to take up swimming.

Senior international swimmer at Stockport Metro Swimming Club Michael Dunning is a rare sight in his sport – a black man aiming for a swimming medal in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

While in the pool Michael is training hard for the Tokyo Olympics, outside of the pool he is working hard to encourage and inspire more black people to take up swimming.

Michael’s story recently reached the media and has been picked up by ITV and Michael recently featured in All Around Britain, series 1 – episode 15 – presented by Ranvir Singh and Ria Hebden.

The programme tours the UK visiting the country’s most fascinating attractions across Britain and sharing extraordinary stories of human endeavour at all the must-see places.

Michael took up the story:  

“When I was at school people used to say to me ‘black people don’t swim’ ‘that I shouldn’t be swimming’ and I just love proving them wrong. I remember going to my first world championships and there just weren’t many people of colour on poolside.

“It does make you question why? I think maybe it’s because parents are too scared, they think that stereo-type is there and there’s a loss of confidence. I want to show people that black people can swim, that we can do anything we put our mind too and if I can inspire 1 or ten people that’s my dream.”

Recently the 26 year old chose to reveal his sexuality – he is gay – on reality tv show, the Bi-life:

“So many people are scared about coming out and how people may react. For me I just needed to come out to be myself and my performance has definitely seen an improvement since.”

Those improvements leave Michael on the verge of qualifying for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and with the help of his friend and inspiration, former double Olympic gold medalist winner Rebecca Adlington, he hopes to do just that!

Mandy Bell, Michaels coach, told ITV:

“Michael has everything in the tool kit that you require as an elite athlete”.

Michael is lucky to be alive. Two years ago he was just a few meters away from the epicentre of the bombing at the Manchester arena. He describes life following that horrific experience as ‘tough’ but was inspired to carry on ‘everyday is a blessing.’

Michael is attracting some positive national media coverage in the lead up to the postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 and has a few “exciting projects in the TV/Media circuit that follows my journey all the way to the Games.”

An interview with local ITV News a few months ago at Grand Central attracted the ITV producers of ‘All Around Britain’ who asked if they could showcase it on the popular Sunday show.

Watch the whole interview here on the itv hub – https://www.itv.com/hub/all-around-britain/10a0484a0015

For more information about One Stockport, visit https://www.onestockport.co.uk/

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