He Claimed the Gold - Now Out Figure Skater Eric Radford is Retiring

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Adam Rippon (left) and Eric Radford, two openly gay Olympians. Photo via Instagram / @ericradford85

(EDGE) Openly gay Canadian athlete Eric Radford and his figure skating partner, Meagan Duhamel, both from Ontario, took the gold in one event and the bronze in another at the Winter Olympics. It was, reported the National Post, a vindication after missing the mark in Sochi four years ago and a disappointing year in 2017, and the pinnacle of a streak of recent wins that led to the bronze after they accomplished something never achieved before on Olympic ice: A quad throw.

Related: Meet the LGBT Olympians at the 2018 Winter Olympics

Radford and Duhamel did even better in team figure skating, an event in which they snagged the gold, making Radford the first out male athlete to take a top prize at the Winter Olympics, The BBC reported, noting also that openly gay U.S. athlete Adam Rippon took the bronze in that contest.

"So proud that @Adaripp and I get to wear these medals and show the world what we can do!" Radford tweeted, sending out a photo of himself and Rippon showing off their medals.

The response to Radford's gold medal win electrified ice skating fans and drew congratulations from out Olympian Mark Tewksbury, also a Canadian. Tewksbury had claimed the gold in 1992 for swimming but was not out at the time.

"FINALLY in 2018 an openly gay man is on top of the podium," Tewksbury cheered. "No more isolation for LGBT sports men!!"

Tewksbury, author of the memoir "Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock," had lost a motivational speaker deal worth six figures after coming in 1998.

It's doubtful whether a similarly egregious turn awaits the newest Canadian champs. The National Post article observed in an offhand manner that Redford and Duhamel would now "skate straight into retirement and pro tours." That nugget of intel - that the two are retiring from competition - set off the gay press, with multiple outlets zeroing in on Radford's status as an openly gay Olympic athlete and the news that he is hanging up his skates.

Twitter trolls have attempted to downplay Radford's status as a sexual minority, the BBC noted, but dismissive tweets gained little traction.

"It matters to people legitimately afraid of losing jobs or getting abused if they are open about being gay," one Twitter user noted in response to a tweet questioning what difference it made that Radford is gay. "When someone can reach the top of their field without hiding, that gives hope." 

The outspoken Rippon turned that very question on its head. In an interview with GQ Magazine, the BBC noted, Rippon said: "Being gay has never been a big deal to me, which is why it's a little funny to be getting all this attention about it."

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