Friday, 7 February 2014

Medal Quest : Winter Olympians

Eagerly anticipating tonight’s (or this afternoon’s, in my case) spectacular opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics I present my most up-to-date list of lgbt Winter Olympians. Not all of these were openly out when they competed.

Perhaps the best way to present the list is alphabetically. Of course, over time this list will become out of date as more athletes are identified. The list gives name, country, sport, and Olympic year/s.

Anonymous (not “out”); USA; biathlon; 2006
Geert Blanchart; Belgium; speed skating; 1992, 1994
Brian Boitano; USA; figure skating; 1984, 1988, 1994
Anastasia Bucsis; Canada; speed skating; 2010
Jeff Buttle; Canada; figure skating; 2006
Caitlin Cahow; USA; ice hockey; 2006, 2010
Toller Cranston; Canada; figure skating; 1972, 1976
John Curry (1949-1994); GB; figure skating; 1972, 1976
Nancy Drolet; Canada; ice hockey; 1998
Randy Gardner; USA; figure skating; 1976, 1980
Renate Groenewold; Netherlands; speed skating; 2002, 2006, 2010
Joan Guetschow; USA; biathlon; 1992, 1994
Edel Høiseth; Norway; speed skating; 1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998
Erika Holst; Sweden; ice hockey; 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010
Barbara Jezeršek; Slovenia; cross-country skiing; 2010
Stine Brun Kjeldaas; Norway; snowboard; 1998, 2002
Ylva Lindberg; Sweden; ice hockey; 1998, 2002, 2006
Cheryl Maas; Netherlands; snowboard; 2006
Rob McCall (1958-1991); Canada; figure skating; 1984, 1988
Ondrej Nepela (1951-1989); Czechoslovakia; figure skating; 1964, 1968, 1972
Ryan O’Meara; USA; figure skating; 2006
Brian Orser; Canada; figure skating; 1984, 1998
Anja Pärson; Sweden; skiing; 2002, 2006, 2010
Brian Pockar (1959-1992); Canada; figure skating; 1980
Ronnie Robertson (1937-2000); USA; figure skating; 1956
Emanuel Sandhu; Canada; figure skating; 2002, 2006
Matt Savoie; USA; figure skating; 2006
Blake Skjellerup; New Zealand; speed skating; 2010
Vibeke Skofterud; Norway; cross-country skiing; 2002, 2010
Sarah Vaillancourt; Canada; ice hockey; 2006, 2010
Sanne van Kerkhof; Netherlands; speed skating; 2010
Johnny Weir; USA; figure skating; 2006, 2010
Marieke Wijsman; Netherlands; speed skating; 1998, 2002
Christine Witty; USA; speed skating; 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Ireen Wüst; Netherlands; speed skating; 2006, 2010

The run-up to the Sochi games has been accompanied by protests and controversy around Russia’s anti-gay legislation. No doubt this may have put some lgbt athletes off coming out, as is understandable considering there’ll be more attention on them than there would be if they came out at a “regular” Olympic Games.

This hasn’t stopped various national Olympic committees from appointing openly lgbt members in official delegations. The most high profile of these are members of the USA delegation – Billie Jean King, Caitlin Cahow, and Brian Boitano (who came out officially when he was appointed), all of them with previous Olympic experience either as an athlete or coach. Even the decision to include them has been criticised by some as a deliberate act of protest.

If history is anything to go by, I doubt if any protest or boycott at Sochi will make any difference. They haven’t worked in the past. But let’s not take up too much space with my opinions. Let’s celebrate the right of lgbt athletes to compete without discrimination in the sport and list the known lgbt athletes competing over the next couple of weeks in Sochi;
Belle Brockhoff, Australia, snowboard
Anastasia Bucsis, Canada, speed skating
Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, Austria, ski jump
Barbara Jezeršek, Slovenia, cross country skiing
Cheryl Maas, Netherlands, snowboard
Sanne van Kerkhof, Netherlands, short track speed skating
Ireen Wüst, Netherlands, speed skating

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