Compete Network Feature Stories

Speedskater Ireen Wüst Announces Engagement to Girlfriend

On a Facebook post, Dutch Speedskater Ireen Wüst shared a few photos and announced her engagement to longtime girlfriend and fellow speedskater, Letitia de Jong. Wüst is The Netherlands’ youngest Olympic champion when she won a gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino.

She followed that up with another gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi she won two gold and three silver medals making her the most decorated athlete of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang she won a gold medal and a silver medal and became the Netherlands’ most successful Olympic athlete in history. In addition, she became the first Winter Olympian to win a gold medal at four consecutive Olympics, the first Dutch athlete to win five gold medals, the first ever speed skater, male or female, to win ten Olympic medals and the first female Winter Olympian to win nine individual medals.

Wüst came out as bisexual in a 2009 in a magazine interview where she revealed she was in a relationship with a woman. She was one of a very small number of openly LGBT athletes to compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi which was hosted right after Russia adopted oppressive anti-LGBT propaganda laws. After her coming out, she called out the media for their intense focus on her private life over her career as an athlete, she stated…

“You are not asking [Dutch speedskater] Sven Kramer about how his relationship is going. So why would you ask me? If I would’ve had a relationship with a guy, you wouldn’t have asked me either.”

Wüst was one of 15 openly LGBT athletes to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang where she competed against openly LGBT competitor and friend, Brittany Bowe.

In December 2018, a documentary was released in the Netherlands following Wüst story and offered insight into her personal life, athletic career and relationship with de Jong. It has yet to be released outside of the Netherlands and is not yet widely available.

By Dirk Smith

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