Why facing and overcoming fear forces you to grow as a person, with Gareth Thomas.
Gareth is one of Wales’ greatest ever rugby players. He's their second highest try scorer ever, and was the first man to reach 100 Wales caps. He’s also the first high profile player to come out as gay. Recently he came out as HIV positive, doing a huge amount to tackle the stigma around it in the process. Gareth competed in an Ironman when he came out, and the support 'Alfie' got as he competed shows how much love and respect there is for him. Gareth has faced down fear throughout his life, and the key lesson he’s learned is that life isn’t about simply seeking to be comfortable. It’s about thriving on challenges and overcoming them, because that’s how you grow as a person and are able to lift other people up in the process. In this episode Simon talks to Gareth about the values instilled in him by his parents Barry and Yvonne. They talk about how more big names in the world of sport could use their platform for good, as their power is immense. Gareth explains how being dishonest causes you to live in fear, and how shame can make you aggressive towards other people and the world at large. They discuss the power of forgiveness, and why Gareth refuses to be a victim, despite suffering a homophobic attack and being blackmailed about his HIV status. They talk about the power of vulnerability and how it is a strength not a weakness, and why being in touch with your emotions is often a sign of that inner strength. And they address the issue of homophobia in football, and why Gareth thinks the Football (Offences) Act needs changing to include homophobic chanting.