Meet the LGBT Olympians at the 2018 Winter Olympics

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During the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games, Nine Olympians will fly the rainbow flag along with their national colors.

This year’s batch of LGBT beats out the total of four that participated in the 2014 Winter Olympics. That total is the most ever for a Winter Olympics, according to the Advocate.

In the Rio De Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics, a record 53 LGBT participants competed in the games, according to Gay Star News.

With two-straight Olympics worth of records for the LGBT community, get to know the athletes from the U.S. to Austria that will be competing.

[Editor’s Note: Medal counts current as of the date of publication.]

 

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Gus Kenworthy – (USA, Freestyle Skier)

Kenworthy is looking to add on to his Olympic resume after winning a silver medal in 2014. The slopestyle skier said that coming out in 2015 after his first Olympics has helped his competitive career.

“I kind of feel like a whole new person because I’ve come out publicly and I feel really great just about that and myself and being able to be open about my sexuality and honest and authentic and all of those things,” he said to USA Today. “I think that since coming out and since the Olympics, my competitive career has gone well, better than it had in the past. And I feel great about it.”

Following his 2014 debut, Kenworthy won two silver medals at the 2016 X Games in Aspen, Colorado and a silver in Slopestyle at the 2017 Skiing World Championships. This is his second Olympic Games.

 

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Barbara Jezeršek – (Australia, Cross-country Skiing)

Barbara Jezeršek started out as a swimmer, but sickness pushed her out of the pool and onto skis. The Australian was forced out of swimming by Bronchitis, but took up skiing instead according to her official Olympic bio.

Now, she will compete for her second home country after becoming an Aussie citizen in 2016, according to NewNowNext.

“This is it,” Jezeršek tweeted on Jan. 24. “Officially selected for the Australian Olympic Team 2018!!!!”

According to the Advocate, Jezeršek competed for her original home country of Slovenia in 2010 and 2014. This will be her first Olympics competing under the Australian flag.

 

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Daniela Iraschko-Stolz – (Austria, Ski Jumper)

Daniela Iraschko-Stolz almost didn’t make it to this year’s Olympics. The Austrian ski jumper injured her knee for the second time in 2017 and had to get surgery to repair it.

“Because it didn't get better with conservative treatment, the surgery was now necessary so I can continue Ski Jumping on a high level,” Iraschko-Stolz said to FISSki.com. “I'm really happy now and the knee feels a bit better already. I'm confident, that I'll be able to jump and start competing in the World Cup again soon."

On Jan. 28, she won first place during her comeback competition in Slovenia, according to EuroSport. Iraschko-Stolz currently has one silver medal, which she won at the 2014 Sochi games.

 

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Adam Rippon – (USA, Figure Skater)

Rippon will join Kenworthy as the pair of LGBT Olympians competing for the U.S. For Rippon, this will be his first ever Olympic run.

“First and foremost, I’m an athlete. And I’m an Olympian. I’m not a gay Olympian. I’m just an Olympian that’s also gay,” Rippon said to the Washington Post. “I don’t mind reading that: like, ‘gay Olympian Adam Rippon.’ It’s fine. I hope that, in a way, it makes it easier for other young kids who are gay. If they go to the Olympics, they can just be called Olympians.”

Already, Rippon has won bronze in team figure skating with one more event to go. Fellow LGBT skater Eric Radford earned gold for Canada in the same event.

Rippon was selected for one of the three U.S. spots despite fishing fourth at the U.S. figure skating championships.

Rippon has had two sixth-place finishes at the Skating World Championships in 2010 and 2016. He was named an Olympic alternate in 2010.

 

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Eric Radford – (Canada, Figure Skater)

Eric Radford became the first openly gay man to ever win Winter Olympics gold in his second ever Olympics.

Radford picked up the win in team figure skating over fellow LGBT Olympian Adam Rippon, who won bronze according to PinkNews. The Canadian previously won silver with partner Meagan Duhamel at Sochi in 2014 before he came out later that year, according to NewNowNext.

“My concern was that I would be known as ’the gay athlete’ if I came out at the Olympics, rather than Eric the medalling figure skater who happens to be gay,” he said to Outsports. “And I felt uncomfortable with that title.”

Radford proposed to his fiancee Luis Fenero in the summer of 2017.

“I've learned that the best things in life have a level of simplicity to them,” Radford said in a July 10, 2017 Instagram post. “I see it in art, I hear it in music and I feel it with this man. Loving him is simple and beautiful.”

 

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Cheryl Maas –  (Netherlands, Halfpipe Snowboarder)

Cheryl Maas is no stranger to making statements at the Olympic Games.

In 2014, Maas showed the cameras her gloves, which featured rainbow patterns according to Whitelines. This came while the Olympics were being held in Russia, a country that has laws against “gay propaganda.”

Maas also talked about potentially boycotting the games because of those laws.

"If you do something like that, everyone has to participate, because it's all about human rights, which goes beyond homosexuality,” Maas said to NU Sports. “If only gay people switch to a boycott, that does not help."

Maas was the first Dutch woman to win an X Games medal, picking up a Gold in Snowboard Big Air in 2016.

 

Belle Brockhoff - (Australia, Snowboard Cross)

Belle Brockhoff made this year’s Olympics despite an ACL injury that sidelined her for most of 2017. According to the Australian Olympic Committee bio on the snowcross rider, she suffered the injury while preparing for the World Championships in Spain.

Despite the injury, she still qualified for her second ever Olympics.

“IM SO HAPPY!!! Incredibly honoured and excited to annouce (sic) that I'll be representing Australia for the second time at the Olympic Games next month,” she tweeted on Jan. 24.“Thank you to my family, friends, supporters & sponsors for believing in me every step of the way! I will be riding my heart out!”

Brockhoff will be looking for her first ever Olympic medal at Pyeongchang.

 

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Ireen Wüst – (Netherlands, Speed Skater)

Ireen Wüst will stand in as one of the most decorated LGBT Olympians of the group.

The Netherlands speed skater has won eight total medals over three Olympics Games, including four golds. Notably, she became the youngest ever in her country to medal at her sport when she won a gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics at 19 years old.

“The win in Turin in 2006 was just incredible,” she said in her official Olympics bio. “I hadn’t won anything before that, and there I was in my first Olympic race, winning a gold medal. Even when I watch the race today, I still can’t believe that I did it. It was an amazing feeling.”

At PyeongChang, she won gold in the 1500m race according to PinkNews.

 

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Brittany Bowe - (USA, Speed Skater)

Brittany Bowe will come into the Olympics wanting to improve her performance at Sochi.

The speed skater finished out of the top five in all three of her races last Olympics, according to Outsports. The skater previously played basketball for Florida Atlantic University and did inline races, but switched to the ice in 2010.

She won nine medals at World Championships from 2013 to 2016.

Bowe has not specifically labeled herself as any particular identity of LGBT, according to Outsports. She is dating inline skater Manon Kamminga from the Netherlands.

“It’s nice being with somebody that has the same passion, same drive, same goals,” Bowe said to NBC of Kamminga. ”It’s obviously difficult living on different sides of the world. But we’re both focused on our goal. She’s trying to make her team. I’m trying to make my team. So it just works out.”


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