By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)

We’re over halfway through the Olympics, and team LGBTQIA is cleaning house. Since the opening ceremonies, several athletes have since come out, bringing the total of out LGBTQIA+ Olympic athletes in Tokyo to 179. With that, the total number of medals collected by out LGBTQIA+ Olympians, if Team LGBTQIA+ was a country, would currently be ranked 8th in the total medal count.
Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas won the gold medal and set a new world record in the triple jump at 15.67 meters. It wasn’t just any world record though, the world record she shattered, 15.50 meters set by the first women’s world champion in the event, Inessa Kravets (Ukraine), has been on the books since before she was even born. Roja’s has already established herself as a front runner for the gold, winning the triple jump at the South American, Pan-American, World Indoor and World Outdoor Championships. She won the silver medal in Rio and came to Tokyo unwilling to settle for anything less than gold.

Team USA shot putter, Raven Saunders. won a silver medal and went to the podium in style, celebrating her impressive performance with a two-toned lavender and green hair style, hulk mask and fabulous dancing skills. Saunders calls herself “Hulk” because “You don’t mess with the Hulk. Because if you see the Hulk, you go the opposite way.”

In a post-match interview with NBC, Saunders gave a shout out to the LGBTQIA+ community and shared her love and appreciation for those who’ve helped paved the way for her to be open and proud on Twitter.

Italian archer, Lucilla Boari became the first Italian archer to win an individual Olympic medal when she took home bronze in the individual event. During an interview with the Italian media, Dutch Archer Sanne de Laat made a virtual appearance to congratulate Boari. After the brief chat ended, Baori mentioned that Sanne was her girlfriend and became the second Olympic athlete in Tokyo to publicly come out after winning a medal. Her coming out follows Poland’s Katarzyna Zillman who, during a post-race interview, grabbed a microphone to thank her girlfriend.

It’s great to see so much positivity coming out (pun intended) at these Olympics! Living your authentic selves has really shown to enhance and contribute to such positive performance outcomes. As we go into week two, we can’t wait for more!

Photo by Yann Caradec from Paris, France via Wikipedia