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These LGBTQ+ Winter Olympians Are Heating Up the Games in Beijing
These LGBTQ+ Athletes and Coaches Are Heating Up the Games in Beijing
Beijing is set to host the XXIV Olympic Winter Games, starting this week, and it's not just COVID complicating China's plans for a seamless event. Numerous countries, including the United States, have announced a diplomatic boycott of the games (a move that keeps those countries' government officials from attending), mainly because of China's alleged abuses against the Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the northwest part of the nation. Additionally, the Chinese government continues to vilify its LGBTQ+ citizens, going so far as to ban "sissy men" from TV last year. Even if most Chinese athletes are forced to compete in the closet, numerous queer athletes from around the world will represent their countries -- and our community -- at the Games.
The following is a partial list of international LGBTQ+ Olympians competing this year:
Bruce Mouat - Curler
Curler Bruce Mouat, who says he found athletic success after he came out to a psychologist eight years ago, is Britain's top athlete in this sport in the 2022 Olympics.
Belle Brockhoff - Snowboarder
Snowboarder Belle Brockhoff, who came out publicly as gay in 2013 and competed at Sochi in 2014 as part of a protest against Russia's anti-LGBTQ+ laws, will represent Australia in Beijing.
Eric Radford - Figure Skater
Figure skater Eric Radford of Canada, the first international figure skater to come out publicly while competing, will again compete with partner Vanessa James.
Brittany Bowe - Speed Skater
Speed skater Brittany Bowe became a member of a U.S. Olympic team for the third time after her outstanding performance in the 1,000-meter trial. She not only placed first but set a track speed record for the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee. She was the first out athlete to earn a spot on Team USA for this year's games and is considered likely to win a medal.
Guillaume Cizeron - Ice Dancer
Representing France is ice dancer Guillaume Cizeron, who is gay. His skating partner is Gabriella Papadakis.
Gus Kenworthy - Freestyle Skier
Two-time Olympian and silver medal-winning freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, who made history when he kissed his then-partner, Matthew Wilkas, following a run at the Olympics in 2018, will represent the U.S. in what he says will be his swan song as an Olympian.
Ireen Wüst - Speed Skater
Ireen Wust of the Netherlands heads to her fifth Olympics and looks to add to the 11 medals she's amassed, the most of any Olympic speed skater. The bisexual athlete has won gold at every Olympics she's competed in, and her medals (five gold, five silver, and one bronze) make her the most decorated out LGBTQ+ Olympian as well as the most accomplished Dutch Olympian.
Kévin Aymoz - Figure Skater
French figure skater Kevin Aymoz, who said he wanted "to help open the conversation about homosexuality in sport" by participating in this past summer's documentary Faut Qu'on Parle (We Need to Talk), will compete this year.
Kendall Wesenberg - Skeleton
Slider Kendall Wesenberg, who during the 2014-2015 season became the first American woman to win the European Cup, is part of the American skeleton crew.
Timothy LeDuc - Figure Skater
Pairs skater Timothy LeDuc, who made history as the first out gay athlete to win a U.S. pairs title after capturing gold with partner Ashley Cain-Gribble, has now become the first out nonbinary Winter Olympian.
Adam Rippon - Figure Skating Coach
Adam Rippon, 2018's beloved bronze medal-winning American figure skater, won't take to the ice in Beijing. Instead, he's the coach for U.S. skater Mariah Bell.