By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com February 10 2014 1:01 PM ET
The Advocate is tracking the games for the very few out Olympians. (Here's our list. Let us know if there's anyone else we should be watching.)
An Important Sochi First
Speed skater Ireen Wüst became the first openly LGBT athlete to win a gold medal at the Sochi Olympic Games on Sunday.
“Seventeen million Dutch wanted me to win,” Wüst, 27, said according to CBS News, after beating defending champion Martina Sablikova in the 3,000 meters. “Now the extreme pressure is off, and I can win more.”
She is now the most decorated female skater from the Netherlands, with three gold medals, and a silver medal. Wüst, who is bi, also medaled in the Torino games in 2006, as well as the Vancouver games in 2010. Both she and fellow Dutch skater Sven Kramer won gold in the female and male events, respectively over the weekend.
The surprising thing about Wüst's medal win, however, was her interaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly after. As Wüst celebrated with a beer, she later told a Dutch broadcaster that she "got a cuddle from him" at a party held in her honor.
"He congratulated me and asked if everything was OK in Russia, and I congratulated him on [Russian speedskater] Olga Graf, of course, for her third place [in the 3,000 meters]. He was happy to see me, but then he had to leave again. But I cuddled him."
Behind The Scenes With Cheryl Maas
Dutch snowboarder Cheryl Maas finished 12th at the women's slopestyle semifinal. Jamie Anderson from the U.S. won the gold, while Enni Rukajarvi of Finland won silver, and Jenny Jones from Great Britain won bronze.
Though Maas, an out snowboarder, did not make it to the finals, we did come across this gorgeous documentary short, about Maas's life at home in Biarritz, France, with her wife and daughter, and her competitive season.
Waiting for Finals
The Dutch women's 3000 meter relay team was penalized in the semifinals, and will not be competing in the finals. Out skater Sanne Van Kerkhof, is on the team.
The finals will take place February 18.
Meet Supportive Bobsledder Steve Holcomb
The growing Facebook group, Bears for Steve Holcomb, will be appreciative of our quick talk with the U.S. Olympic bobsledder. He took a moment in Sochi to speak with our partner, United for Equality in Sports and Entertainment. Watch the video below.
UESE IN SOCHI - Day 2 - An Interview with Olympic Bobsledder Steve Holcomb from Athena Maroulis on Vimeo.