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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > Issue 271 > Pushing The Boat Out

Pushing The Boat Out

STYLING: JOSEPH KOCHARIAN
PHOTOGRAPHY: LEIGH KEILY

Leeds-born canoeist Matt Lister, 24, retires this summer after a career which saw him among the world’s top 10 and British ranking champion four times. In a bid to better support lesbian, gay and bisexual athletes, he became the British Athletics Commission’s first LGB ambassador. Now a model and set to become Attitude’s fitness expert, he tells Chris Godfrey about life after the Olympics

SWIM TRUNKS BY RUFSKIN

How did you get into canoeing? It seems a fairly alternative choice of sport.

Yeah, it is a bit of a niche sport, but my older sister was doing it and I got really jealous that she was doing something fun. I was getting dragged along anyway and got into it that way. I was five or six, but I was a nightmare; for a good two or three years all I would do was go to the pool sessions, get a boat, paddle out into the middle and just fall in and sink the boat. They used to have floats inside them, so I used to take all the floats out, sink it to the bottom of the pool, get out and watch the lifeguard have to dive in and get it out. It got to the point where all the people in the club were saying, ‘you either do it or don’t come. All you are doing is making it a nightmare for everybody else’. After one year in the sport seriously, I went from the lowest division up to the second highest division and was spotted by a British canoeing coach. I was asked if I wanted to go along to some trials to see how I got along with the team and to train with them. From that day on my parents resented me because they had to drive me back and forth between Leeds and Nottingham every week!

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About Attitude

On the cover this month are American trans model Laith Ashley and the British Athletic Commission’s first LGB Ambassador Matt Lister. In our special report, one year into the current Government we look at how its actions are affecting you. Elsewhere, we interview the director and stars of Holding The Man, the powerful new Australian gay film that everyone should see. Plus, exclusive UK gay press interviews with Ariana Grande and Fifth Harmony, Broadway legend Bernadette Peters, and director Andrew Steggall talks about his very personal coming of age film Departure.
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