Simon Dunn

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Simon Dunn
Personal information
Nationality Australian
Born(1987-07-27)27 July 1987
Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia
Died21 January 2023(2023-01-21) (aged 35)
Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia
Height1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight99 kg (218 lb)
Country Australia
Sport Bobsleigh Rugby
  • Australian Bobsleigh Team
  • Sydney Convicts Rugby Club
  • Calgary Canucks
  • Kings Cross Steelers London
Updated on 16 March 2016.

Simon Dunn (27 July 1987 – 21 January 2023)[1] was an Australian bobsledder and amateur rugby player. Raised in Wollongong, in 2014, he was the first openly gay male to represent any country in the sport of bobsled.[2] After several years in London, he lived in Sydney and played amateur rugby before his death.[3]


Simon Dunn grew up playing rugby league south of Sydney, in Wollongong.[4] Struggling with his own sexuality and life in sport, he initially quit when he first came out but resumed playing after returning to Sydney from Canada when he became a player for the Sydney Convicts Rugby club.[5] Travelling to Canada to further his playing career while he worked at WinSport's Performance Training Centre, Dunn had the opportunity to try out for the Australian bobsleigh team.[4] In making this team and representing his country, this made him the first out gay man to represent any country in the sport.[6] He was the brakeman for Lucas Mata.[5] In November 2016, he announced his retirement from bobsleigh.[7] He then played rugby in London, UK, with the Kings Cross Steelers.[8] Dunn was also nominated and shortlisted for the Australian LGBTI Awards Sports Personality of the Year in both 2018 and 2019.[9] Dunn contributed as a columnist to Attitude, Gay Times and DNA magazines' online editions and had more recently been a columnist on GuysLikeU and Gays with Kids.[10][7]

In 2020, Dunn made his acting debut as the lead actor in Greg Gould and Inaya Day's music video for the single "Love Like This".[11] The video was part of Global Pride 2020.[12]

In July 2021, Dunn announced his return to bobsleigh and intention to represent Australia at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.[13] He began training with the Australian team in September 2021 by competing in both two-man and four-man events in Whistler, but he suffered a ruptured biceps during his second four-man race of the season in Whistler, British Columbia, which required his return to Australia for treatment. In an interview, he stated that the injury and rehabilitation time "make [his] chances very slim" to compete in the 2022 Olympics.[14]

Advocacy work[edit]

After his initial retirement from the Australian Bobsleigh team, Dunn began to focus on social causes that were important to him, notably those affecting the LGBTQI community, homophobia in sport, and HIV/AIDS.[15] Whilst in London, Dunn appeared on Sky News to debate comments made by professional rugby player Israel Folau,[16] and he was the face of a national HIV test campaign with the charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, along with testing himself for HIV live online.[17]

Following his return to Sydney, Dunn continued with this work, being announced as an ambassador for GiveOUT Day, which aims to help LGBTIQ+ projects and community groups.[18] In 2020, Dunn also became an ambassador for the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, which is Australia's longest-running HIV charity.[19]

Media appearances[edit]

Dunn attracted a strong social media following and, in July 2015, created a YouTube channel.[20] Being noticed and featured on BuzzFeed,[21] Dunn appeared in Attitude magazine's Naked Issue.[22] With his popularity among readers he was also later voted in number 1 of the magazine's annual Hot 100 list.[23] Since the start of 2016, Dunn had appeared in hundreds of media publications, including print, online, radio, and television. Dunn also graced the cover of several print media magazines around the world.[24][25][26]

In 2020, he appeared in the documentary film Steelers: The World's First Gay Rugby Club by Eammon Ashton-Atkinson, alongside Steve Brockman and Nic Evans.[27][28]


Dunn was found dead inside his Surry Hills apartment on 21 January 2023, with police not treating his death as suspicious. He was 35.[29]


  1. ^ Simon Dunn's death at 35 leaves Australia in shock: 'Can't believe it'
  2. ^ Akerston, Matt. "Australia's first gay bobsledder sleighs 'em". Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  3. ^ "Out Gay Rugby Player and Former Bobsledder Simon Dunn Passes Away at 35". Star Observer. 22 January 2023. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  4. ^ a b Growden, Greg (21 January 2023). "Simon Dunn living sports dream only after enduring personal hell". Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  5. ^ a b Elias Jahshan (Editor) Star Observer Magazine April 2014, p. 17, at Google Books
  6. ^ Segaert, Anthony (23 January 2023). "'Loved, adored and respected': Tributes flow after death of first out gay bobsleigh athlete". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  7. ^ a b Guiltenane, Christian (10 November 2016). "Exclusive Interview: Simon Dunn Reveals Some Shocking News!". Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  8. ^ Guiltenane, Christian (19 April 2016). "Kings Cross Steelers Hunk Marc Landon: 'I Met My Boyfriend on the Team!'". Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Sports Personality". Archived from the original on 3 March 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  10. ^ "Gays With Kids". Archived from the original on 10 March 2018.
  11. ^ "The Powerful Message Behind 'Love Like This'". DNA. 8 May 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  12. ^ "Global Pride 2020". 4ZZZ. 28 June 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  13. ^ Scott, Duncan (29 July 2021). "Simon Dunn Announces Return To Bobsleigh And Journey To 2022 Winter Olympics". DNA. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  14. ^ Scott, Duncan (19 November 2021). "DNA Alumni, Simon Dunn, Suffers Injury On Path To Winter Olympics". DNA. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  15. ^ "Simon Dunn: 'I wish Keegan and Sam had been there when I was growing up'". September 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  16. ^ Guiltenane, Christian (27 April 2018). "SIMON DUNN: "HOMOPHOBIC RUGBY STAR ISRAEL FOLAU SHOULD BE BANNED FOR HIS COMMENTS!". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  17. ^ ONLINE, DNA (23 November 2018). "Simon Dunn Talks HIV Testing Week". Archived from the original on 25 November 2018. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  18. ^ Day, GiveOUT. "We are thrilled to have some amazing representatives from the Australian LGBTIQ+ community on board for GiveOUT Day 2020". Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  19. ^ "Simon Dunn – BGF Community Ambassador". Bobby Goldsmith Foundation. Bobby Goldsmith Foundation. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  20. ^ Simon Dunn on YouTube.
  21. ^ "Community Post: Meet Simon Dunn, The First Out Gay Bobsledder". BuzzFeed Community. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  22. ^ "Simon Dunn: Attitude Naked Issue 2015". Attitude Magazine. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  23. ^ "Meet Attitude's HOT 100 winner, Aussie bobsledder Simon Dunn". Attitude Magazine. 21 July 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  24. ^ Kennedy, John R. "Australian rugby player turns to bobsleigh in Calgary with eye on 2018 Olympics". Global News. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  25. ^ Kennedy, John R. "Calgary's Simon Dunn named hottest man in the world". Global News. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  26. ^ "Australian bobsledder living in Calgary named 'World's Hottest Man' by UK magazine". Calgary Sun. Archived from the original on 19 August 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  27. ^ Smith, Mark (19 April 2021). "'Finding this community is huge': story of world's first gay rugby team captured on film". Evening Standard. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  28. ^ "Excited to announce I'm in Steelers Documentary a film on the @KXSteelers". Twitter. 18 February 2020. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  29. ^ Goodwin, Sam (23 January 2023). "Simon Dunn's death at 35 leaves Australia in shock: 'Can't believe it'". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 23 January 2023.