Compete Network Feature Stories

Openly LGBTQI Speedskater, Brittany Bowe, Finishes Season on a High Note and Named one of Team USA’s ‘Most Dominant Athletes’

Brittany Bowe is arguably the most dominant female speedskater in the sport right now. Having just finished her season, Bowe shared on Instagram that she is “filled with so much pride, joy, and gratitude.” She has every right to celebrate, considering she won the gold medal and broke a world record in the 1000 meter at the World Championships. In addition, she took home a bronze in the 1500m. During the season, she won 14 world cup medals and took home the world cup title in the 1000m and 1500m events.

There was a lot of uncertainty for Bowe coming into this season after suffering from a concussion in 2016 following a collision with a teammate and not competing at all during the 2017 season. Bowe started to return to competition in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang but was unable to compete at her full potential. At the age of 31, there was a lot of doubt as to whether or not Bowe could return to full form. 

“The main question was is she in a point in her life where she’s able to come back and be what she was,” said Joey Cheek, Olympic gold, silver and bronze medalist and speedskating commentator for NBC. “The fact that she’s 31, and skating faster than she’s ever skated before, it’s just thrilling to watch as a spectator. And for someone who is such a fan of the sport as I am, it feels like vindication. You knew she was capable of it.” 

Bowe has recieved praise from her teammates and fellow competitors who recognizing her accomplishments and comeback from her concussion. Team USA considers Bowe as one of their most dominant athletes, sharing the honor with athletes like Mikaela Shiffrin and Simone Biles.

When Bowe competed at the 2018 Winter Olympics, she was Team USA’s only openly LGBTI female athlete. While she never officially “come out” she has been very open on social media and through media appearances about her relationship with fellow Speedskater Manon Kamminga. Bowe has not declared herself in any label, instead letting her love for Kamminga speak for itself…

“It’s nice being with somebody that has the same passion, same drive, same goals,” She expressed in an interview with NBC in 2017. ”It’s obviously difficult living on different sides of the world. But we’re both focused on our goal. She’s trying to make her team. I’m trying to make my team. So, it just works out.”

Her teammates and fellow competitors hope Bowe will continue to train, compete and focus on the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. But in the meantime, Bowe is enjoying her moment in the sun. She concluded her Instagram post…

“The JOY of being able train, race, and compete day in and day out is something I continue to cherish season after season. It’s an honor to race alongside the best ladies in the world and the records and barriers that we broke this year are remarkable.”

By Dirk Smith

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