WINTER OLYMPICS 2018: 12 LGBT athletes competing for medals
South Korea is more LGBT-friendly than you might think!
Gus Kenworthy (Skier, United States)
He may have entered the 2014 Games as an unknown commodity but freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy’s stock has definitely risen considerably as he prepares for his second Olympics as a competitor for the U.S. Olympic team. Since coming out, the LGBT community has welcomed him with open arms and endorsement deals from some of the biggest companies in the world are hoping to make him a household name in 5,4,3,2…
John Fennell (Luge, Canada)
He may have remained in the closet for the Sochi Games, but this time around, Canadian men’s single luge athlete John Fennell is currently training feverishly to represent his country and the LGBT community in PyeongChang as an out and proud man.
Adam Rippon (Figure skater, United States)
He is making history at this year’s Winter Olympics as the first openly gay man to compete for the USA, going one step further than retired American figure skater Johnny Weir. Should he win a medal, it will be a triumph for the gay community and a testament to triumph over adversity.
Ireen Wüst (Speed Skater, The Netherlands)
She already has collected eight medals at the Olympics – four of which are gold – but Ireen Wüst is a long-track speed skater that is looking to add more medals to her collection in PyeongChang for her home country of The Netherlands. As the most decorated athlete at the Sochi Games, all eyes will be on her to come through yet again.
Eric Radford (Figure Skater, Canada)
As a Canadian figure skater, Radford has had to contend with the conservative aura of the figure skating world for years, coming out as a gay man in December 2014 right after the 2014 Sochi Winter Games with his skating partner Meagan Duhamel, where they earned the silver medal. Now that he has qualified for the upcoming PyeongChang Games, he will be competing against American Adam Rippon for the gold.
Belle Brockhoff (Snowboard Cross, Australia)
She may have suffered a serious knee injury recently, but snowboard cross athlete Belle Brockhoff is determined to make this year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, seeking to improve upon her 8th place finish at her debut at the Sochi Games in Russia in 2014.
Daniela Iraschko-Stolz (Ski Jumping, Austria)
She made history in 2014 as the first openly gay athlete at the Sochi Games in the debut of the women’s ski jump, winning the silver medal. Will the Austrian grab the gold in PyeongChang? All eyes will be on her.
Cheryl Maas (Snowboard, The Netherlands)
The Dutch snowboarder openly criticized the International Olympic Committee at the Sochi Games for its stance against the LGBT community, and is looking to improve upon her performance at the 2006 Torino Olympics, where she placed 11th in the halfpipe. Her heroism is set to make her a vocal supporter of gay rights for all athletes internationally.
Barbara Jezersek (Cross-Country Skiing, Australia)
Representing Australia, Jezersek and her cross country skiing partner Jessica Yeaton finished 10th at the first Team Sprint final and are looking to improve upon that standing in PyeongChang, where they hope to place inside the top 20.
Luis Fenero (Ice Dance, Spain)
Spanish ice dancer Luis Fenero, along with his partner Celia Robledo, have been announced as part of their country’s Olympic team, where they hope to grab a medal for their country.
John Epping (Curling, Canada)
The Toronto skip earned a berth in the Canadian Olympic trials, which in December will determine who represents Canada at PyeongChang in a sport closely associated with the Great White North. The curling star came out to family and athletic peers more than five years ago.
Nick Goepper (Skier, United States)
Nicholas Charles Goepper – Freeskiing (slopestyle). Nick Goepper’s burst on to the freeskiing scene may have started on a small hill in the Midwest, but it’s clear fans are going to see big things from the Olympic bronze medalist in the coming seasons. Nick is ramping up for the 2014-2015 season with some summer training (he just released a summer edit) and he hopes to continue adding to his impressive roster of results.
With the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games, the LGBT community is poised to make history in ways that will forever change the perception of the international event.