Gareth Thomas had just won the Mirror Pride of Sports Award.
Earlier this week, the former Welsh rugby captain won the Mirror Pride of Sports Award. The sportsman won the award for his part in breaking down stereotypes and the stigma about HIV, after he revealed he had the condition.
The rugby legend was already close to tears when he arrived on stage to accept the award. When host Ben Shephard asked if the moment was emotional, Gareth responded by saying: “You know, it really is. Because I’m being celebrated for something that six months ago was something that [made me want] to die because I felt that nobody would accept me.
“To to be celebrated is a difficult thing to try and take. But what I’ve realised… is that the story transcended HIV.
“We’re all people and we all have weaknesses and we all have vulnerabilities and people want to prey on them. But what I realise, as athletes the one thing we know is how to fight and how to come out.
“Having a vulnerability and having a weakness doesn’t make me weak and there was a point where I thought it made me weak.”
A video message from Sir Elton John then played, praising Gareth for his openness and described him as “a beacon of hope for so many people.”
At this point, Ben welcomed on two people who had been inspired by Gareth, former rugby player Jason Leonard and and former Olympic swimmer Mark Foster.
However, neither person had the award to present to Gareth, as Ben revealed that there were two other people in the wings, who wanted to present the award to Gareth to show how “proud” they were of him and his “courage” in both his career and life.
As Ben brought on Gareth’s parents, Barry and Yvonne, the rugby star was reduced to tears. Describing her son, Yvonne said Gareth had been “a pain” growing up, due to his insistence on trying many different sports, while his father praised him as an “inspiration” for how he dealt with his hardships.
Watch the emotional moment below.