Even More LGBT Athletes Added to Olympics in South Korea

Team LGBTQ

The U.S. Olympic team competing in South Korea this year will have more out LGBT athletes than have ever represented the nation at a Winter Olympics, and that contingent now potentially includes one of the biggest stars for the games. Here’s a second installment from The Advocate on what’s happening with gay sports leading into PyeongChang (read our first here).

American freeskier Gus Kenworthy on Sunday clinched his spot on the U.S. Olympic team for slopestyle. This morning, U.S. Ski and Snowboard confirmed Kenworthy and fellow skier Nick Goepper would be part of Team USA. That said, after a nasty fall at the last halfpipe qualifying event of the season, Kenworthy seems less likely to make the halfpipe team, for which coach’s discretionary choices will be announced by Friday. Still, he heads to the games confident he can conquer the slopes there.

“My boyfriend is here and my agent,” he noted at a press conference. “It was more emotional not making the pipe this time. I definitely cried some tears in my hotel room. It’s nice redemption to make it in slope.”

Kenworthy won a silver in slopestyle at Sochi in 2014 but was completely closeted at the time. He came out to ESPN in 2015.

Team LGBT also got some great news this weekend out of Europe. Dutch news outlet NU.nl reports snowboarder Cheryl Maas has been guaranteed a spot on the Netherlands’ Olympic team. This will be the third Olympics for the lesbian snowboarder, who at Sochi in 2014 became the first Olympian to openly defy Russia’s "gay propaganda" law when she thrust a rainbow-decorated glove at cameras after a run.

While out figure skater Timothy LeDuc is unlikely to be on a plane to PyeongChang, the third alternate for pairs will head to international competition representing the United States this year. LeDuc and skating partner Ashley Cain will compete at the 2018 Four Continents Championship. He also took a moment to speak with OutSports about the importance of athletes coming out. “Every queer person who has the means to be out should be out,” he said.

And Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz just today was officially named as one of three women ski jumpers representing her nation at the games, according to Heute. The star skier won an international competition in Planica over the weekend, her second first-place finish in a row, as she led Austria to victory at the second Continental Cup competition of the season, according to the German-language Berkutschki Skijumping. It’s an incredible return to form after an injury left her sidelined for most of 2017. But after winning a silver at Sochi in 2014, she now heads to Korea as a favorite for gold.

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