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Australian boxer Harry Garside has revealed a desire to 'break stereotypes' around gender by wearing colourful nail polish during his Olympic quarter-final victory.
The 24-year-old has guaranteed himself a bronze medal, and will fight for a chance to win gold when he faces Cuba's Andy Cruz in Friday's semi-final.
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In Olympic boxing, both losing semi-finalists are awarded bronze medals, meaning win or lose, Garside will win Australia's first medal in boxing since Grahame "Spike" Cheney's light welterweight silver at Seoul 1988.
While he's making history for his efforts in the ring, Garside has revealed since his quarter-final victory that one of his other goals for the Olympics has been to challenge various gender stereotypes.
Garside, who is well known for practicing ballet in addition to his rigorous boxing training explained the reasoning behind wearing the nail-polish for his quarter final victory.
“I got these today. I just want to break stereotypes, to be honest. I’m a big one for that,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people out there who feel like they have to be something because they’re a male or a female.
“I’m all about just being different.”
In a hilarious twist, Garside also revealed he had planned on an even more provocative display during the Opening Ceremony, but had thought better of it.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist humorously claimed he had planned to wear a dress during the athletes' introduction, before deciding a more subtle approach was better suited.
“I was going to wear a dress to the opening ceremony, but I didn’t want to offend anyone,” Garside said.
“I feel like some people might take it the wrong way, so this is my way of showcasing something.”
He hasn't let on yet if he plans to make any further displays in his upcoming fights - but already his gesture has won him plenty of support from fans.
Harry Garside through to lightweight semi-finals after points victory
Garside hung tough in a split 3-2 decision win over Kazakhstan's Zakir Safiullin, earning the one remaining judge's vote in a tense final round in a fight that could have gone either way.
He's been all business in three victories in the ring so far, admitting that "time stood still for that little bit" as he awaited the verdict and then let out a bellowing 'yes, c'mon'.
"(I was thinking) a thousand things ... I know Kazakhstan is an extremely good boxing nation. I knew it was really close," he said.
"I'm very grateful that the (Olympic) Boxing Task Force have brought this in (score updates after each round) because if we didn't know that I would have just kept boxing the way I was boxing and I probably would have lost that fight.
"It's crazy mate."
Garside's win offsets compatriot Skye Nicolson's gutting split decision quarter-final loss last week and ensures the sport remains on the Australian agenda in Tokyo.
"We deserve it, we work bloody hard down there. I love my country so much," Garside said.
"There's not many boxers (in Australia) - there's heaps of other sports - so I'm just grateful to do this for the next generation of athletes leading into the 2032 Brisbane Games."
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