As if Tokyo’s record-breaking number of out LGBTQ+ competitors weren't enough to cheer about, we can now add one more athlete to their ranks. Katarzyna Zillmann, a rower competing for Team Poland, brought home the silver along with her team in the quadruple sculls. She then took the microphone and thanked her girlfriend.
When asked by reporters about the big moment, Zillman surprisingly said that she not only has been out, but that she’d even spoken to the press about it previously — the news just never took off. “The conversations with you after the medal race were not groundbreaking for me,” she said. “I’ve already talked about it in interviews before, but for some reason, it wasn’t published.”
While she was never closeted, Zillman explained that now, having the platform of an Olympic silver medalist, she wants to use it to benefit the LGBTQ+ community. “I know that in this way I will help others,” she said. “It was enough that I showed up in a T-shirt with the words ‘Sport against homophobia’ and I got a few messages from young girls practicing rowing. One of them opened up to me, described her difficult home situation to me, and confessed that I helped her a lot with my attitude. One such message is enough to completely forget about thousands of hate comments and disgusted faces.”