Hillary Clinton Shouts Out to USA's First Openly Gay Winter Olympians

Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon

While speaking at the Makers conference in Los Angeles, Hillary Clinton gave a shout-out to the athletes participating in the Winter Olympics with a special nod to the United States’s first two openly LGBT athletes going into the games. 

"I'm going to watch as much as I can see. I love the Winter Olympics. I love the athleticism and the stories of our athletes,” Clinton told the crowd at the Makers conference via satellite from New York City, according to ABC.

"I'm excited that Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy will be the first openly gay Olympians for the American team," she added.   

While 28-year-old figure skater Rippon and 26-year-old skier Gus Kenworthy are not the first LGBT athletes, they have made history as the first two to come out prior to the start of the Winter Olympics. Even figure skater Johnny Weir, who’s out and proud, was not publicly out during the Olympics in which he competed. 

But Clinton is not the only one excited for Rippon and Kenworthy to represent the country as proud LGBT athletes. Rippon tweeted a photo of himself with his arm around Kenworthy from the opening ceremony in PyeongChang, South Korea, on Friday in which he noted that they are both out. 

“Representing the USA is one of the greatest honors of my life and being able to do it as my authentic self makes it all so much sweeter," Rippon wrote.  

Kenworthy's photo montage of the two of them included a slightly more in your face celebration of their being out. "We're here. We're queer. Get used to it," the skier wrote, invoking the old chant often used at Pride marches. 

 

The road to PyeongChang as openly gay athletes has had its politically charged moments for Rippon and Kenworthy. Both men have spoken out about the decision to send anti-LGBT Vice President Mike Pence as a representative of the Trump administration for the Olympics. 

"You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon told USA Today last month when he found out that Pence would represent the country at the games. "If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick. I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that." (Pence did not actually succeed in funding such therapy but took positions that could be construed as endorsing it.)

Pence has since tweeted that despite his history of legislating against LGBT people, he stands with Rippon and even invited the skater to meet with him, but Rippon declined.  

Kenworthy also weighed in on Pence during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this week. 

“To have someone leading the delegation that's directly attacked the LGBT community ... it just seems like a bad fit. I feel like the Olympics is all about inclusion and people coming together, and it seems like it's not really doing that."

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