On this day last year lgbt sports campaigner and member of the London 2012 Diversity Committee, John Amaechi, was standing on top of the North Greenwich Arena holding aloft the Olympic torch (and holding aloft gymnast superstar Nadia Comaneci as well!). The
was fired up with Olympic fever as the London 2012 games approached. It was the torch relay that fired up the enthusiasm more than anything else as it made its way around the country. UK
I’d never given the torch relay much thought in past years, but this began to change when I realised that the torch would be in
Nottingham on my birthday! And I was even more pleased to see Torvill and Dean light the community cauldron in the Old Market Square with my old friend Leon Unczur (the first openly gay Lord Mayor in the UK), dressed in his best civic finery, looking on.
After doing a bit of digging around I realised that the torch relay is relatively under-researched. I tried to find out how many lgbt torch bearers there have been but there are actually very few published complete lists from previous relays to research. Last year I gave a list of lgbt torch bearers I had identified up to London 2012. Since then I have managed to identify more.
One thing which surprised me was the number of HIV+ torch bearers there have been, and how many years ago. In fact, HIV and AIDS have been a big cause for many torch bearers over the years and in December I’ll cover this in more detail. For now I’ll leave you with my most recent list of lgbt Olympic torch bearers. They are grouped according to year, with their name and occupation, and lastly the date and location of their leg in the relay. Two of them, astronaut Sally Ride and Olympian Mark
, have carried the Olympic torch twice. Runners who are HIV+ are marked -. Tewksbury
’s first woman astronaut; possibly America , 8 May 1984. New York City
George Takei, “Star Trek” actor and amateur athlete;
, date uncertain. Los Angeles, California
Vicky Galindo, Olympic silver medallist 2008 (
, softball); Winters, USA , 4 May 1996. California
Gail Marquis, Olympic silver medallist 1976 (
, basketball); location and date uncertain. USA
Salt Lake City
-Paul Harris, journalist with POZ magazine; location uncertain, December 2001.
-Mark Nowak, of Avalon Apparel;
State, New Year Eve or Day 2001-2. Buffalo, New York
-Jim Valiton, of Tuscon Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network;
, 13 January 2002. Tuscon, Arizona
Lance Bass, singer with boyband N’Sync;
,15 January 2002 (runner 075) Newport Beach, California
’s first woman astronaut; America , 15 January 2002 (runner 106) San Diego, California
Doug Jack, Director of Choreography for 6 Olympic ceremonies 1992-2002;
, 15 January 2002 (runner 222) Los Angeles, California
-Dennis J. Lee; 8 February 2002;
. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Daniel Kowalski, Olympic gold medallist (swimming);
, 5 June 2004. Melbourne, Australia
-Shaun Mellors, founder, National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS;
, 12 June 2004. Cape Town, South Africa
-Prudence Mabele, founder, Positive Women’s Network; first South African bi woman to declare HIV status; Cape Town, South Africa, 12 June 2004.
Ellen Degeneres, comedian and talk show host;
, 16 June 2004. Los Angeles, California, USA
student, future member of Delaware University gay soccer team; New York City, 19 June 2004. New York
Mark Tewksbury, Olympic gold medallist (swimming);
, 20 June 2004. Canada
Conchita Martinez, tennis champion and Olympic medallist (silver 1992, bronze 1996);
, June 1994. Barcelona, Spain
Giorgio Armani, fashion designer, designer of Italian Olympic 2006 team uniform; Milan, Italy, 24 January 2006.
-John Caldera, San Francisco Veteran Affairs Commission member; first Mr International Bear 1992; San Francisco, USA, 9 April 2008.
Helen Zia, former executive editor of “Ms” magazine, journalist;
, 9 April 2008. San Francisco, USA
Andrew Heslop, founder of
’s national Neighbour Day; Australia , 24 April 2008. Canberra, Australia
Jonothon Welch, choral conductor, 2008 Australian of the year;
, 24 April 2008 Canberra, Australia
Nancy Drolet, Olympic silver medallist (ice hockey);
, 6 December 2009. Drummondville, Quebec
Brian Orser, Olympic silver medallist (figure skating);
, 17 December 2009. Pickering, Ontario
-Tom Hammond, Executive Director, AIDS Committee of
and Guelph ; Wellington County , 20 December 2009. Owen Sound, Ontario
Danielle Peers, Paralympic bronze medallist (wheelchair basketball);
campus, University of Alberta , 13 January 2010. Edmonton, Alberta
Mark Tewksbury, Olympic gold medallist (swimming); Taber, British Colombia, 17 January 2010.
-Eric Sawyer, founding member of ACT-UP, Civil Society Partnership Adviser UNAIDS;
, 20 January 2010. Calgary, Alberta
Marion Lay, Olympic bronze medallist (swimming), past Chair of Vancouver 2010 Bid committee and member of the Organising Committee; Pemberton, British Colombia, 6 February 2010.
-Tiko Kerr, artist and AIDS activist; Vancouver, British Colombia, 10 February 2010.
Dean Caten and Dan Caten, identical twins, international fashion designers DSquared2, and designers for the main performers at 2010 opening and closing ceremonies; Vancouver, British Colombia, 10 February 2010 (they ran separately rather than together)
Angus Praught, President of Gayvan.com Travel Marketing, member of International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association; Vancouver, British Colombia, 12 February 2010 (he brought his torch to a special event at the Vancouver Pride House on 17 February 2010).
(Paralympic relay) Vancouver
Rick Mercer, broadcaster and comedian; 3 March 2010,
. Ottawa, Ontario
Andy Stonehill-Brooks, founder of Support U, a network of nationwide lgbt support centres; Combe Martin,
Devon, 21 May.
Vincent Jackson, charity fundraiser;
, 25 May. Cardiff
Tara Mifflin, youth leader volunteer with Stonewall; Y Felinheli, Wales, 28 May.
Colin Renshaw, volunteer in the lgbt community, Manchester Pride and 2002 Commonwealth Games;
Bolton, Lancashire, 31 May.
Kevin Bartlett, amateur rugby coach; former recording artist; 1990 Gay Games gold medallist (athletics);
, 3 June. Ballycastle, Northern Ireland
Heather Davidson, cerebral palsy sufferer; student; volunteer with lgbt support groups in
; Trafford, Manchester Lancashire, 24 June.
Trevor Burchick, MBE, founder of the Pride Games; representative on the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association;
Stockport, Lancashire, 24 June.
Lorna McArdle, past Chair of Reading Pride, member of local marching band;
, Reading Berkshire, 10 July.
Clare Balding, former jockey and
BBC sports broadcaster; Newbury, Berkshire, 11 July.
-Peter Hellawell, Chairman of Trustees of Positive Action; marathon runner, competitor at Gay Games 2006; Bridport, Dorset, 12 July.
Jason Saw, head of MINDOUT, lgbt mental illness charity;
, 16 July. Arundel, Sussex
Gideon Meade, founder, Brighton Lesbian and Gay Sports Society;
, 16 July. Brighton, Sussex
Colin Bentley, nursing assistant on HIV ward, marathon runner;
, 17 July. Brighton, Sussex
Gavin Owen, marathon runner, volunteer with
Brighton and London Prides; , 17 July. Eastbourne, Sussex
John Amaechi, OBE, former NBA basketball star, member of London 2012 Diversity and Inclusion Group; Greenwich, London, 21 July.
Tim Sullivan, Chairman of Kings Cross Steelers, the world’s first gay rugby club; Haringey,
, 22 July. London
Mark Healey, founder of 17-24-30, set up to mark the anniversary of the 1999 London Nail Bomb attacks, founder of Vigil Against Hate Crime; Lewisham,
, 23 July. London
Chris Basiurski, Chair, Gay Football Supporter’s Network; member, Diversity Panel of the Football Association; Hammersmith,
, 26 July. London