The games haven't started yet, but the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero are already controversial: from political upheaval to the Zika virus to feces in the river, it seems these games will go any way but smoothly. Before we depress you with all that is going wrong, let's focus on some good news: These games are chock-full of openly LGBT athletes, and could be the most diverse Olympics yet. Here are the 48 queer men and women of Rio who are doing us proud. Get the gold, gays! FYI: Opening ceremonies kick off August 5.
In this photo: Jeffrey Wammes
Isadora Cerullo — Brazil, rugby
For Brazil’s Isadora Cerullo, the Games in Rio will be remembered as the best day of her life not because her team won the gold (Brazil’s women’s rugby sevens finished ninth overall), but because it marks the day she accepted her girlfriend’s proposal. Marjorie Enya, 25, came on the field after Australia won the gold. “As soon as I knew she was in the squad I thought I have to make this special," Enya told the BBC. And in case you were wondering: Cerullo said yes!
Jen Kish — Canada, rugby
The captain of Canada’s women’s rugby sevens team, Kish led her team to clinch a historic bronze medal on Monday. Meanwhile, in south Edmonton, Canada, her loved ones cheered her on, including her best friend, her family, and her fiancée, Nadene Selewich.
Tessie Savelkouls — Netherlands, judo
24-year-old Tessie Savelkouls is representing the Netherlands in the heavyweight division of Judo. Her stint in Rio comes right after success at the Parisian Grand Slam this year, where she earned a bronze medal.
Elena Delle Donne — USA, Basketball
Named the second overall in the WNBA’s 2013 draft, Donne had demonstrated her incredible athletic as a member of the Chicago Sky. On top of that, she was named a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics in 2014. Donne came out two days before Rio’s opening ceremonies in Vogue, according to AfterEllen.
Rafaela Silva — Brazil, Judo
Brazil’s first gold medal winner and the first world champion in the sport, Silva, 26, is used to trailblazing. On top of all this, though, Silva is openly gay, and speaks highly of her long-time girlfriend on social media.
Nicola Adams- Great Britain, Boxing
Nicola Adams nabbed the first gold medal ever awarded for women’s boxing at their inaugural game in London. Adams, 33, is bisexual, and has topped lists of the most influential LGBT people in the U.K.
Seimone Augustus - USA, Basketball
This 32-year-old American basketball player from Baton Rouge, La., is a five-time all-star, 2014 Basketball World Champion, and two-time Olympic gold medalist. And what’s more? She’s married to a woman. Augustus is a star of stars in the WNBA, and an advocate to boot. She has gone on record to explain why the “alpha-male ego” mentality of male athletes makes it much more difficult to accept gay players in their midst. That’s not to imply, however, that her personal coming-out did not take an incredible amount of courage.
Tom Bosworth - UK, Race Walking / Athletics
Despite its inclusion in the Games since 1904, competitive race walking is one of the Olympics’ most under-appreciated sports. Hopefully, the media will turn more attention to it at Rio, as the premier British race walker Tom Bosworth, 26, came out as gay late last year. Bosworth is currently ranked #1 for race walking in the U.K., a nation that has not earned an Olympic medal in the sport since 1964. Bosworth wanted to get a jump on the rumors about his sexuality, not all of which, he says, had been kind. “When I was competing in local athletics a number of years ago, some other athletes called me 'fag' or 'queer,' he told the BBC. But in coming out, he has found a supportive community among his teammates.
Dutee Chand - India, Track & Field
Born in the small Indian village of Gopalpur, Dutee Chand has come a long way from running on the banks of Brahmani. A star at 17, Chand’s rise was stunted in the midst of a controversy—the levels of testosterone in her blood was too high, and she was banned from competing in the Commonwealth Games. The ensuing imbroglio came out in Chand’s favor— she will compete in the 100m sprint in August. Though she was allowed to compete, the invasive and arbitrary rules outlined by the International Olympic Committee left this athlete feeling humiliated.
Tom Daley -U.K., Diving
At 18, English diver Tom Daley made waves at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Though he earned a bronze medal for the 10-meter dive, Daley brought home much more than a title — namely, the devotion of tens of thousands of screaming fans. But if they thought he made waves in 2012, the following year he caused a tsunami when he came out and began dating Dustin Lance Black, an American activist and the Academy-Award winning screenwriter of Milk. But the fact that Daley and Black are now engaged will not stop his hordes of fans from fawning over him from the sidelines in Rio. Even after four years, hearing Daley pronounce “vitamin” with a short “I” still makes many weak at the knees.
Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel - Netherlands - Field Hockey
Reports indicate van den Heuvel is the girlfriend of fellow field hockey player Maartje Paumen. can den Heuvel will play alongside her partner in hopes of earning the Netherlands their third gold medal in a row.
Lisa Dahlkvist - Soccer – Sweden
For Swedish football midfielder Lisa Dahlkvist, stepping into the spotlight has been a gradual process. Having sat on the sidelines in Beijing, Dahlkvist finally got a chance to play an Olympic match in 2012, before Sweden was knocked out of the running by France. However, in 2008, Dahlkvist had the spotlight all to herself: she came out to a Swedish magazine, saying “it has been only natural to be with the woman I love. For me it's about the person, I do not think that I fall in love with a sex.” The coming-out was spurred by a new arrival on the scene: Moa, Dahlkvist’s daughter with her wife, Camilla.
Katie Duncan - New Zealand, Soccer
28-year-old Katie Duncan will represent both New Zealand as well as the LGBT community in Rio this year. She is married to a former New Zealand soccer player, Priscilla Duncan.
Nilla Fischer- Sweden, Soccer
Representing Sweden, Fischer brings more than a bad-ass haircut and winning attitude to the game—she’s one of Sweden’s best hopes for securing their first gold. She married her partner in 2013.
A dual citizen of New Zealand and Tonga, Fonua is one of only seven athletes to represent the island nation at Rio. He proudly carried the flag for Tonga at London, but doesn’t bear his sexuality so obviously. As he tells Outsports, he only brought it up if people asked. “It really wasn't an issue. My job was to swim as fast as I possibly could… By simply being myself, I'm changing the way people think.”
Larissa Franca— Brazil, Beach Volleyball
This volleyballer from Espirito Santo, Brazil, has experienced a lot this last year, not the least of which was her marriage to her partner in 2013. After years of training, França is heading to Rio, to upgrade her London bronze to Brazilian gold.
Edward Gal - Netherlands, Equestrian
Edward Gal earned his place in the hallowed halls of dressage fame with a hat trick of gold medals at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky., as well as bronze in the 2012 London Olympics. On his trusty stallion Totilas, Gal raked in the Grand Prix for Dressage in both the Freestyle and Special categories, and he earned the third award on a dressage team alongside his longtime partner (and Beijing silver medalist), Hans Peter Minderhoud.
Kelly Griffin — USA, Rugby
Having started playing rugby while at UCLA, Griffin quickly became of one the best rugby players in America, helping us clinch silver at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games. Today, she is one of the 12 people comprising USA’s first Olympic Women’s Rugby Team. She is married to Ashley Griffin and has two children, Quinn and Connor.
Brittney Griner - USA, Basketball
One of the world’s most famous female basketball stars, this 6’9” 25-year-old came out in 2013 and has since become a beacon for youth facing harassment. As she told the L.A. Times, “When I was younger, it really bothered me…But as I got older, I started caring less. … I’ve learned to love myself.”
Carl Hester - Great Britain, Equestrian
Ranked within the dozen best dressage athletes on earth, it may be hard to believe that Carl Hester didn’t start competing until 19. Since then, he has won medals at nine international dressage championships, including a gold medal at the London Olympics. See him compete in Rio this summer on a new horse this time—his long-time steed, Uthopia, has retired.
Michelle Heyman - Australia, Soccer
This year, Australia’s own Michelle Heyman helped the team qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 2004. Heyman, who has played on teams on both sides of the Pacific, has belonged to the Australian National Team for six years. Talking about her coming-out, she admitted she was “a little nervous” about others’ judgment. “But I never let it get to me because I was finally happy.”
Mélanie Henique — France, Swimming
Having earned a medal in the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai at 18, Henique is an early star in the swimming world. Unfortunately, she was also the victim of a hate crime in 2015, having her nose broken and preventing her from training for a short period. Says Henique: “I’m well aware of the anti-LGBT climate that reigns in France today, unfortunately. It’s a type of racism. It’s just as unacceptable as every other form of discrimination, and it should be condemned as such.”
Stephanie Labbé - Canada, Soccer
Labbé has played for both the American team Washington Spirits as well as the Canadian Women’s Soccer team—but come August, she will be playing goalkeeper for her native Canada at Rio. Check out her and her girlfriend on Instagram—they make quite the charming couple.
Alexandra Lacrabère - France, Handball
Hailing from the Pau region of France, Alexandra Lacrabère is one of the top players of the women’s team, having helped them secure silver in the 2011 World Women’s Handball Championship. For her, coming out was only natural. But, she added, “all the better if it helps change people’s minds.”
Hedvig Lindahl - Soccer – Sweden
Sweden’s dreams for their first gold medal in soccer rest heavily on the skill of Hedvig Lindahl, the 33-year-old goalkeeper who usually plays for the Chelsea Ladies of England. Despite her high-profile playing, Lindahl maintains a pretty private personal life, having celebrated a quiet wedding with her wife, Sabine, in 2012. She described it as “A giant cozy late-summer wedding. We were in a small stone church near Kristianstad and had family with. Many of my former teammates also came there. It was very nice.” And as for a honeymoon? “[W]e have not had time yet. [We will] take it sometime in the fall when football season is over.”
Ari-Pekka Liukkonen - Finland, Swimming
For 27-year-old Finnish swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen, coming out was a political act. According to the Finnish news site Yle, he came out in order to protest Russia’s anti-LGBT laws on the eve of the Sochi Olympics. "I wanted to start a broader discussion in connection with Sochi, because it’s sad that the legislation in Russia restricts the human rights of young people and others," he told reporters.
Robbie Manson - New Zealand, Rowing
Being a competitive rower since 19, New Zealand’s Robbie Manson internalized much of the masculine worship and homophobia that went hand-in-hand with the culture. “I looked down on other people who were gay… I knew I was gay too, and I hated myself because of it,” he told Outsports. But once he built up the courage by coming out to family members, he finally revealed his sexuality to his team on the eve of the London Games. “Much to my surprise, everyone was fine with it. I didn't have a single bad reaction, and most people were demonstrably supportive… I seriously thought that if anyone found out I wouldn't be able to row anymore.” Luckily for Robbie, he found a supportive community among his teammates. In another stroke of luck, he recently qualified for the Rio Games.
Hans Peter Minderhoud - Netherlands, Equestrian
Long-time partner of Edward Gal, Minderhoud comprises half of this dressage power-couple. He earned a gold medal at the 2010 World Dressage Championship in Kentucky and earned silver in Berlin. Having interests that so closely align with those of your partner comes as a huge boon to both athletes; “Competitions are a way of life,” Minderhoud told eurodressage.com. “It is so much fun if you are with someone who precisely understands that and knows what you are doing.”
Ian Matos - Brazil, Diving
Brazilian Ian Matos joined Tom Daly as an out Olympic diver in 2014. In an interview, he expressed his fear that this sexuality would harm his chances of sponsorship—but recognizes that hiding any longer was simply not an option.
Angel McCoughtry - USA, Basketball
Growing up with a pastor for a father, Angel McCoughtry was afforded little space to imagine a life outside of traditional family values. For this Louisville-educated player for the Atlanta Dream, this fear persisted right up until her coming-out. “I didn't want to embarrass anyone, or for my family to not be proud of me," she told ESPN. "But I've never felt so much freedom in my life… I wasn't expecting it to turn out this positive.”
Nadine Muller – Germany, Discus
Hailing from Leipzig, Nadine Müller has been winning medals since 18, including two gold medals, and the European Cup Winter Throwing competitions in the Ukrainian city of Yalta and Arles, France. She married her partner in 2013.
Marie-Eve Nault - Canada, Soccer
Marie-Ève Nault helped her native Canada bring home the bronze medal during the 2012 Summer Olympics. Though she is part of the Canadian women’s national soccer team, she usually plays for the Swedish team KIF Örebro.
Ashley Nee- USA, Kayak Whitewater Slalom
Ashley Nee was terrified of rapids when she first saw them near her Maryland home. Now she will represent the U.S. in whitewater rafting.
Maartje Paumen - Netherlands, Field Hockey
In her role as midfielder, Maartje Paumen helped propel the Dutch field hockey team to success at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, alongside teammates Marilyn Agliotti, Kim Lammers, and Maartje’s girlfriend, Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel. The preponderance of LGBT athletes from the Netherlands comes as no surprise — the country has been at the cutting edge of acceptance for decades, having legalized same-sex marriage in 2001 and banning sexual orientation discrimination in 1993.
Mayssa Pessoa - Brazil, Handball
Thirty-one-year-old Mayssa Pessoa will likely be traveling to Rio this summer to represent Brazil as goalkeeper of its women’s handball team. Before going on to secure the gold for Brazil at the Pan-American Championship and Pan American Games in 2013 and 2015 respectively, Pessoa came out during an interview with a French magazine. “I did not want to accept it,” she said. But “today I’m dating a woman, everyone on my team knows it, and I’m no longer afraid of anything.” According to her, there are many closeted athletes who are afraid of being rejected or ridiculed. Her hope for them? “That they realize that they’re hurting themselves, and that they are also hurting the people that they love.”
Jillion Potter — USA, Rugby
Jillion Potter has been through everything. A spinal injury would be enough to take anyone out of commission, but Potter bounced back, only to be diagnosed with a rare form of cancer two years later, at 28. But she has since recovered, and will be laying on the U.S.’s Sevens team come August. She lives with her wife, Carol Fabrizio.
Megan Rapinoe - USA, Soccer (injury pending)
American midfielder Megan Rapinoe made soccer history at the London Olympics, executing a maneuver called the “Goal Olimpico” by scoring a goal from the corner; in other words, by kicking a ball in a curve. But that’s not all she’s famous for: right before helping the U.S. bring home the gold from the London, Rapinoe came out publicly in an interview with Out. “For the record: I am gay,” she told reporters. She only kept it secret for so long, she said, because no one asked her directly. Rapinoe will continue to inspire young athletes in 2016, thanks in part to her advocacy with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and Athlete Ally. Her personality helps, too, as does her spunky look, inspired, she says, by Tilda Swinton.
Helen and Kate Richardson Walsh -Great Britain, Field Hockey
Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh are two amazing field hockey players in their own right, and together comprise an LGBT power couple. These two English field hockey players have competed together in 17 international championships, and helped the U.K. earn bronze at London, and then got married soon thereafter.
Caroline Seger — Sweden, Soccer
The captain of Sweden’s national women’s team and winner of the 2009 Diamantbollen (awarded to the best female soccer player in Sweden), Caroline Seger spent many years in the closet. She didn’t come out until 2013, in a Swedish magazine, QX.
Caster Semenya -South Africa, Track & Field
A nexus of debate about gender in sports, Caster Semenya is as well known among scholars of gender as among track and field enthusiasts. After setting the world record for the 800m, Semenya was subject to rigorous gender testing. She was used to such scrutiny: she had had members of competing team take her into the restroom “so that they could look at her private parts” before agreeing to race her. Because she naturally had higher levels of testosterone in her blood than allowed by the International Association of Athletics Federations, she was forced to take other hormones to counterbalance the testosterone. This stirred up a worldwide debate about gender—is being male or female simply a matter of chemicals or gonads? Does it make sense for sports participation to be divided in terms of genitals? For Caster Semenya, who has been yanked around this issue for years, the most important thing is to simply keep running.
Martina Strutz — Germany, Pole Vault
Strutz is a major contender for pole vault, having earned silver medals in the 2011 World Championship and 2012 European Championship. She married her partner in 2015.
Susannah Townsend – U.K., Field Hockey
This 26-year-old athlete knows how to keep her head in the game—on the eve of the 2014 hockey world cup, where her native England would go up against her girlfriend’s team, South Africa, Townsend told the Telegraph that “Emotionally, she will always be there for me, but she is the opposition.” Townsend will need this steely resolve in Rio if they want to bring home the gold.
Sunette Stella Viljoen — South Africa, Javelin
South African javelinist Sunette Stella Viljoen knows how to earn the gold, having launched herself to #1 at the 2016 African Championships. Viljoen says she faced intense criticism about her sexuality from her family. She met he partner, TV anchor Limari Louw, at the 2012 London games.
Marieke van der Wal — Netherlands, Handball (Reserve)
After playing goalkeeper for the Netherlands at the World Women’s Handball Championships in Brazil in 2011, van der Wal is returning to Brazil next month to represent her nation at the Olympics. She is currently on reserve for the team.
Julia Vasconcelos — Brazil, Taekowndo
This Brazilian martial artist will represent Brazil at its very own 2016 Rio games.
Jeffrey Wammes- Netherlands, Gymnastics
29-year-old Dutch gymnast is a powerhouse for the Netherlands, having first broken out into the scene in 2005. He laid rumors to rest in 2011: he is attracted to men, and will join the other handful of LGBT athletes in Rio this August.
Spencer Wilton- Great Britain, Equestrian
A former partner of gold-medal dressage trainer Carl Hester, Spencer Wilson has won 13 national titles in his capacity as a trainer. He was whispered about as the ‘mystery man’ whose presence caused a rift between glamor model Katie Price and her partner—that is, until it was revealed that Wilton is gay, and was only friends with Price.