In the first book to tell the true story of a gay African-American swimmer, Jeff Commings writes about his teenage years and most of his 20s, when he was afraid to live openly as a gay man among friends and family. Though he was a member of several USA Swimming national teams and competed in two Olympic Trials, his fear of rejection from those he loved and respected severely affected his life socially and athletically.
Commings was the first African-American to win a gold medal in swimming at the Olympic Festival and was the first African-American swimmer to compete at the Pan-American Games, but he went through his swimming career feeling like he was just like everyone else - except when it came to his sexuality.
In ODD MAN OUT: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, Commings reveals intimate details of his life, many of which have never been made public. But this book is much more than the story of a man’s journey to discover his place in a world he feared would shun him. It’s also the story of a black swimmer who rose to elite status when he saw very few on pool decks with his skin color.