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LGBT allies Callum Skinner and Chris Hughton on My Icon: Rainbow Laces

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Watch a clip from the fifth episode of My Icon as Callum Skinner and Chris Hughton talk about why they support LGBT people to be themselves

Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Callum Skinner and Brighton boss Chris Hughton are the guests on the fifth episode of the new series of Sky Sports' My Icon.

As Rainbow Laces Week continues, Skinner and Hughton discuss why they are sporting figures who are proud to be known as allies to the LGBT community.

Callum Skinner won Olympic gold at Rio 2016 in the team sprint, racing with Great Britain team-mates Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes. He also claimed silver in the individual sprint behind Kenny.

Last year, the Scot chose to speak to the media about his family background. Skinner's father, Scott, is gay, and the cyclist explains how a conversation with his dad prior to the Games made him feel more open about sharing that information.

I decided this is something that I'm going to be more open about, because my dad shouldn't have to hide who he is.
Callum Skinner

"The BOA [British Olympic Association] have a support network for families," Skinner tells My Icon. "It's in case the media suddenly jumps on your family so that they have some help; if your mum or dad are getting tons of phone calls from everywhere and it all gets a bit manic.

"It was only around about the Games when my dad was signing up to the scheme with the BOA, that he said to me, 'you know, I don't mind hiding the gay thing'.

Olympic gold medalists Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner of Great Britain celebrate on the podium after winning the men's team sprint in Rio
Image: Callum Skinner (r) with Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny after winning Olympic gold in the team sprint at Rio 2016

"It was at that point that my heart sunk. And then I thought, 'I've truly been hiding this'. So I decided that win, lose or draw, after the Games, this is something that I'm going to be more open about, because my dad shouldn't have to hide who he is."

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In the film, the 25-year-old also reveals who he considers to be an icon among LGBT allies from the world of sport, and why the chosen host nations for the next two World Cup football tournaments show how important it is to keep fighting for equality and inclusion.

Also featuring in this episode of My Icon is Brighton manager Chris Hughton, who is not only one of the game's sharpest coaches but also one of its most respected voices on the benefits of diversity.

You've got to be happy with yourself, and who you are. It's the reason why someone chooses to come out.
Chris Hughton

Hughton, who won over 50 international caps for the Republic of Ireland and played the majority of his club career at Tottenham, is one of only five black, Asian and minority ethnic managers currently working in the Premier League and EFL. He was honoured by Kick It Out earlier this year with a special tribute evening.

The Albion boss believes the performance of a player who was gay would likely improve if that player felt confident enough to come out.

"An individual that's happy with his home life, and he's happy with who he is, trains better, performs better, sleeps better," Hughton tells My Icon.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton during the Sky Bet Championship match at Oakwell, Barnsley, February 2017
Image: Chris Hughton has been manager of Brighton since 2014

"You've got to be happy with yourself, and who you are. It's the reason why someone chooses to come out.

"From a personal point of view, them being happy that way - people knowing, and giving them that support base - leads to a far better environment."

Don't miss Callum Skinner and Chris Hughton discussing being LGBT allies on My Icon: Rainbow Laces. All My Icon episodes are also available on Demand.

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