Mark Tewksbury

Olympic champion swimmer & Chair, Special Olympics Canada

Mark Tewksbury is recognized as a leader of social change. Author of three books, including Inside Out:  Straight Talk from a Gay Jock, Tewksbury is one of the few openly gay Olympic champions in the world. Not someone afraid to speak out, in 1999 Mark co-founded OATH with leading athletes and advocates to take a difficult but necessary step to hold the International Olympic Committee accountable to its own ideals.

In 2006, Mark was the president of the first World Outgames held in Montreal, and was recognized as one of OUT Magazine’s top 100 people. In 2007, he was named by Foundation Emergence as the person of the year for his fight against homophobia, and in 2008, he was asked by the Government of France to speak on LGBT issues at the United Nations in NYC. He was also an ambassador for the historic Pride House at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in 2010, ensuring the LGBT community had a presence for the first time at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.  Most recently, Mark lent his Olympic gold medal to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights to be displayed as part of the “2015 Year of Sport” exhibit. 

Mark is currently Chair of Special Olympics Canada and sits on the board of the Canadian Olympic Committee.  Mark continues to use his personal experiences of being marginalized and stigmatized to break down barriers for those who feel unable to be their authentic selves in today’s society.