Athletes have started arriving in South Korea in anticipation of the 2018 Winter Olympics. The opening ceremony is set for Friday for what is now officially the queerest Winter Olympics in history.
Chief among them may be Team USA’s Gus Kenworthy, who has appeared in Olympics promotions from Xfinity to Head & Shoulders (not to mention appearing on The Advocate’s new cover). After being one of two Americans to automatically qualify for Team USA thanks to podium finishes, Kenworthy made a stop at the X Games. Beyond that, he’s made the talk show rounds, including a Monday appearance on Ellen. The freeskier will compete in PyeongChang in slopestyle, where he took silver four years ago as part of an American sweep at Sochi.
Perhaps the last big question mark looming over Team LGBT this year got a happy answer when doctors cleared Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff for competition. She got sidelined by an injury and only had a spot promised on the Australian Olympic team pending approval from a physician. And with that note in hand, she got back on the board and placed third in qualifiers at the SBX World Cup.
Also in the medical scares department, Dutch snowboarder Cheryl Maas hurt her ankle last week in Oslo but fortunately won’t see any impact on her Olympic ambitions. There has been some fear the injury could prevent her from competing this weekend, but she’s landed in Korea and been cleared for competition, according to Dutch outlet AD.
Australian cross-country skier Barbara Jezeršek also slipped one final World Cup run in last week. She now heads to Korea as part of Australia’s largest cross-country skiing team ever.
If you want to get your Olympics on before the opening ceremony even starts, lucky for you that official training jumps kick off for downhill women’s skiing Thursday, so you could catch the first 2018 Olympic appearance for world champion Daniela Iraschko-Stolz.
On Friday, the first out men to compete in a Winter Olympics take the ice. Men’s Figure Skating kicks off with the short program. You can watch Adam Rippon, the out and outspoken American skater, become the first openly gay man to participate in an Olympic event. Eric Radford and skating partner Meagan Duhamel will also skate in the pairs short program. Rippon and Radford will both likely return to the ice as part of the first figure skating teams events on Sunday representing their respective nations. Belgium’s only male figure skater, Jorik Hendrickx, will also hit the ice in his second Olympics and first since coming out. And lovers of Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst could see the bisexual superstar pick up a fifth Olympic gold medal the 3,000 meters.
Maas hits the slopes Sunday as part of the snowboard slopestyle qualifications and, depending on her performance, for the finals on Monday.
South Korea, by the way, is 17 hours ahead of Los Angeles, and 14 ahead of New York.