It is with great sadness that we report the sudden passing of Simon Dunn, Australia’s first openly gay bobsledder and rugby player, at the age of 35. Dunn’s body was found in his Sydney apartment on January 21, 2023, and his death is not being treated as suspicious.
Dunn made history in the sports world as the first gay athlete to represent Australia in bobsledding. After retiring from the sport in 2016, he took up rugby and played for the all-gay team the Sydney Convicts. Despite an injury that forced him to withdraw from a return to bobsledding in an attempt to qualify for the 2022 Winter Olympics, Dunn’s impact on the sports world and the LGBTI community was undeniable.
In 2018 and 2019, he was shortlisted for the Australian LGBTI Awards Sports Personality of the Year, and he was also known for his dedication to giving back to the community and volunteering his time to help multiple charities. He was a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion, often speaking publicly about the challenges faced by the LGBTI community in sport.
Dunn’s team at Ruby Rose Management said in a statement, “Simon represented us all. He always said, ‘I am not the spokesman, I am just a gay white male telling you about my experiences, and experiences from those with whom I listened and learnt’.”
The Sydney Convicts paid tribute to Dunn, saying, “His talents extended well off the rugby field too, and we know Simon made a positive impact through is work in the community, often speaking publicly about the challenges faced by LGBTIQA+ people in sport.”
Dunn’s passing has left a hole in the hearts of many, including gymnast Heath Thorpe who said, “You will be deeply missed and there is a hole today in many hearts that will take a long time to begin to heal.”
We extend our deepest condolences to Dunn’s family, friends, and all those whose lives he touched during his far too brief time on earth. Simon Dunn’s legacy will continue to inspire and change people’s lives for the better.