It’s a sad day, the Winter Olympics are over! The flame is extinguished, and we are closing the book on what nobody will argue, is the most progressive Winter Olympics for LGBTQ+ visibility, ever. From gold medals to dramatic injuries, fierce performances and puppies. There was so much happening, it’s hard to keep up!
Here are some of our favorite LGBTQ+ Olympic Highlights from the past 2 weeks in Pyeongchang.
Brittany Bowe- The only openly-lesbian member of Team USA at this Winter Olympics. Brittany Bowe almost went home without a medal, having placed 4th and 5th in all of her events. It wasn’t until the final race of the Team pursuit where Brittany and her teammates, in a close finish, beat Canada for the bronze. Winning Team USA’s first women’s speedskating medal since 2002.
Gus Kenworthy- No doubt, the most visible athlete at the games. From a photo with Adam Rippon at the opening ceremonies and cheering his teammates to his now famous kiss with his boyfriend that was aired live on NBC. In his sport of Freestyle Skiing, Gus placed 12th in final competition after breaking his thumb and taking a nasty fall during a training run. Instead, he came home with some cute puppies he adopted to bring awareness toward the humane treatment of dogs in Korea.
Eric Radford- Took to the ice in Pairs Figure Skating with his partner Meagan Duhamel where they won the bronze medal, they also competed for Canada in the team event where they won the gold medal, making Eric the first openly gay male winter Olympian to win a gold medal.
Adam Rippon- Stole the show during his Olympic debut. Despite placing 10th in the Men’s Figure Skating competition, if the audience could decide the medals no doubt Adam would win the gold. He did also compete in the Figure Skating team event where his fierce routine and personality helped Team USA win a bronze medal. Adam knew he wasn’t a medal favorite, so instead he entered his first Olympics with uncontained authenticity that helped us remember that the Olympic games aren’t just about the medals. He even was offered a gig with NBC after his competition but turned it down, so he could support his teammates and march in the closing ceremonies.
Ireen Wuest- Is the most decorated speed skater in history and the most decorated Olympian in Dutch history. She won a gold and two silvers in Pyeongchang and was selected to carry the Dutch flag in during the closing ceremonies. She is the most decorated of all LGBTQ+ Olympians to date!
Also, big shout outs to Emilia Andersson Ramboldt, Belle Brockhoff, Jorik Hendrickx,Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, Barbara Jezeršek, Cheryl Maas,Simona Meiler, Kim Meylemans, Sarka Pancochova,Sophie Vercruyssen who all competed very strongly, not just for their countries but for the LGBTQ+ community. With such strong and visible representation, we can look forward to an even bigger presence at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, perhaps we’ll even see our first transgender Olympian too!
By Dirk Smith