As the 2014 Sochi Games commence in Russia, there's been much outrage over the recently passed anti-gay laws signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who says he's not homophobic. There's also concern for the safety of the six openly gay athletes who will compete in this years games.
We at SFGN salute their courage, and tip our hats to Gay Olympians, past and present.
Incredibly handsome Greg Louganis won a silver medal after competing as a diver in the 1976 Montreal Games, when he was 16 years old. He went on to win two gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles games and two more in 1988 at the Seoul competition.
In 1988, he tested positive for HIV. There was much controversy when his status was announced. During the 1988 Games, he injured his head during a dive, and bled in the water. It was stated that he posed no risk to other divers, as the chlorine in the water kills HIV.
Louganis came out publicly as gay and HIV positive during a 1995 Oprah Winfrey interview. The appearance was to promote his just published autobiography, “Breaking the Surface.” The book was a New York Times best seller, and was filmed by Showtime the following year. Mario Lopez got good reviews for his portrayal of Louganis.
Louganis today remains in good health and is an outspoken supporter of gay rights. He married his partner in October 2013.
Billie Jean King
From 1968 until her retirement in 1983, King was perhaps the best known tennis player in the world. She won numerous medals, and remains a goodwill ambassador for the sport. She has served as Captain of the U.S. Fed Cup Team and has coached its Olympic tennis squad.
King was outed in 1981 when former partner Marilyn Barnett sued her for palimony. She has since said that her very public outing was traumatic, and that people should be allowed to come out on their own terms.
In 2009, King was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Now 70 years old, King will be part of a delegation representing the United States at the Sochi Games.
Openly lesbian hockey player Cahow joins Billie Jean King as part of the U.S. Delegation at Sochi.
The Connecticut native holds a degree in anthropology from Harvard University.
She won a Bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics and was a Silver Medalist at the 2010 Winter Games.
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native currently plays for the Minnesota Lynx, a WNBA women's basketball team. She won a Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and again at the 2012 London Games. Augustus is planning to marry her partner.
Sexy Australian diver Mitcham might be friendly competition for Louganis in the looks department. The buffed Australian won a gold medal in 2008.
Openly lesbian cyclist Arndt won a Bronze Medal in 2000 and a Silver Medal in 2004. She lives in Germany with her partner, fellow cyclist Petra Rossner.
And a special nod to some of the out lesbians who are courageously competing in the Sochi Games:
Cheryl Maas (and wife Stine Brun Kjeldaas):
The Dutch snowboarder competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics, where she finished in 11th place. After qualifying for the Sochi Games, she publicly criticized the Olympic Committee for hosting the games in gay un-friendly Russia. Maas is married to Stine Brun Kjeldaas, a Norwegian snowboarder who won a Silver Medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan. Kjeldaas was part of the BBC commentary team for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Australian snowboarder came out as a lesbian in 2013. In recent interviews she promised that she would "rip on Putin's ass" when she gives Sochi interviews. Brockhoff said that the games are "a perfect opportunity to send a message.” She said that she was advised not to waive a rainbow flag, and probably wouldn't.
On her website, BelleBrockhoff.com, she refers to herself as an "ambassador of equality."
Openly gay Slovenian cross-country skier has competed since 2003. She finished 14th at the 2010 Winter Olympics.