This is as opposed to less than thirty Olympians at the 2012 Olympics. As will be seen, rapidly shifting social attitudes have been adopted that allow for far more inclusivity and representation without the fear of any consequence. Here are 80 proudly LGBTQ+ Olympian and Paralympian athletes that ignite and inspire us.
Twenty-eight-year-old Laurie Williams is an English-Irish wheelchair basketball player and Paralympian. Laurie’s participation at the 2012 Paralympics cemented her as a champion of LGBT representation in sporting history.
Her sporting prowess was recognized during a wheelchair racing event, and she was soon introduced to the world of wheelchair basketball. Laurie quickly moved up in the ranks of wheelchair basketball and became highly regarded as one of the fastest players in the sport. Laurie is currently engaged to Robyn Love, a fellow wheelchair basketball player.
Chelsea Wolfe discovered her love of BMX riding at the tender age of six. Recalling her childhood dreams of being a professional athlete, Chelsea feared that she would “never be welcome” as a trans athlete or “even be accepted as a BMX rider at all.”
After BMX freestyle was announced as an official Olympic sport in 2016, Chelsea was selected as an alternate for the U.S. Women’s Olympic BMX freestyle team. Although not competing in the event, Chelsea was the first trans person in Team USA to represent the United States.
Tom Daley is celebrated as a forerunner in LGBTQIA sporting representation. In 2013, Tom posted a heartfelt video to his YouTube channel announcing his decision to come out publically, five years after becoming renowned in British diving.
After coming out, Tom became a vocal supporter and campaigner for LGBTQIA rights and representation. Tom married screenwriter Dustin Lance Black in 2017 and the couple now has a son. Tom became famous for a curious quirk during the Olympics, knitting between events!
Sixty-three-year-old Terry Hayes is not someone who lets any challenge stand in her way. In 2012 Terry was diagnosed with a disease that trusted her into full-time wheelchair use.
However, true to her nature, Terry persisted and found herself representing America at the Tokyo Paralympics. Terry, self-identifying as lesbian, proudly considers herself part of the LGBTQIA sporting fraternity and acknowledges her wife Freda as a lifelong inspiration.
Hailey Danz, a paralympic athlete, penned an essay during the 2021 Pride Month proclaiming her pride in being gay. Danz brought her personal struggles to the open and wrote of how she struggled to accept herself.
After finding her performance being affected by this stress, she noted how a conversation with her coach made her realize she was using too much energy to erect walls trying to hide who she was. Danz hopes her story will inspire future LGBTQIA individuals and athletes.
It had been almost four decades before a New Zealander stepped onto the diving board to compete at the Olympics. Anton Down-Jenkins was the first New Zealander in almost half a century to do so. Down-Jenkins has been candid about his sexuality as a gay man since joining the New Zealand national diving team.
He has recalled always feeling supported and confident in his sexuality but realizes that many athletes do not. He has said that LGBTQI+ representation in the media is incredibly important for the community.
Alena Sharp is renowned for her golfing excellence and has recently ranked in the top twenty-five golfers within the United States Women’s championship and the Woman’s PGA Championship. She was equally well-known for keeping her private and professional separate.
In 2017 Alena opened up to discuss her relationship with a female caddie, Sarah Bowman. Alena does not make it a point to fly the pride flag per se but is now candid about her sexuality.
Robyn Lambird has made a name for themselves by being the first out non-binary Paralympian to bring home a medal for Australia. A veteran wheelchair racer, Robyn achieved a lightning-fast speed of 18.68 seconds in the division during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Paralympics.
Aside from sports, Robyn uses their fame to promote LGBTQIA issues in the world of fashion often doing shoots for brands such as Target. Robyn summed up their message in a few simple words: “disabled people are hot!”
After a motorcycle accident left Lucky Shuker as a T4 paraplegic, doctors held little hope that Lucy would ever compete in sports. However, in a little under a year, Lucy, a lifelong competitor in badminton, was on the tennis court.
Lucy’s determination has seen her reach almost all major tennis tournaments, right up to the Paralympic Grand Slam finals. Speaking to BBC’s LGBT Sports podcast, Lucy mentioned she doesn’t believe her sexuality needs a label and just “happens” to find herself in love with a woman.
Bisexual Olympian rower Maarten Hurkmans took to Instagram to disclose and discuss his sexuality on social media.
Although everyone close to Maarten was aware of him being a bisexual man, Maarten felt it necessary to inspire others who could find comfort in his personal experience. At the Tokyo Olympics, Maarten helped propel his team to fifth place in the Men’s Eight rowing division.
British golfer Mel Reid has enjoyed an outstanding career. After winning the LPGA in 2020, she represented England at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Sadly, her Olympic career came to an end after she failed to secure a medal.
Mel, who came out as a lesbian in 2018, has used golf as a platform to help LGBTQIA youth. She has partnered with the National High School Golf Association to assist LGBTQ+ coaches, students, and parents.
American basketball player Breanna Stewart helped her team win gold at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics and in the same year was elected as the WNBA Rookie of the Year. She has continued to achieve recognition and has racked up multiple championship titles.
In May 2021, the athlete announced her engagement to her long-time girlfriend, Marta Xargay, in an Instagram post. The news was also posted on her basketball team’s official Twitter account.
Stefanie Dolson was a key member in her team’s scoring of gold in the women’s 3x3 basketball tournament at the Toky Summer Olympics. She revealed that it took her a while to figure out her attraction to women and only realized she was gay after becoming part of the Women’s National Basketball Association.
She has noted that not it’s unnecessary for any gay player to feel compelled to come out. It's a personal choice and it needs to be respected either way.
Twenty-eight-year-old Sam Kerr is an Australian professional soccer player. Kerr currently holds the record for being the all-time leading scorer in the United States and was only recently dethroned from the title in the Australian Women’s League.
Kerr represented Australia at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. After a very public display of affection on the soccer pitch with fellow soccer player Kristie Mews, Kerr confirmed the two are officially a couple.
Thirty-four-year-old Edênia Garcia is a highly acclaimed swimmer from Brazil. She has scored two silvers and a bronze for her country in the Paralympics. For most of her life, Edênia knew she was gay but coming from a small town in the far reaches of northeastern Brazil she admits to having had difficulty embracing this.
She finally gathered the strength to publically come out at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games during an interview.
Perris Benega is a twenty-six-year-old BMX rider from Raleigh, North Carolina. Perris made the cut and went on to represent America at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, placing fourth overall in the BMX freestyle event.
A few weeks before the Olympics, Perris wrote an emotional post on her private Instagram announcing her coming out. Perris mentioned that the thought of coming out gave her insomnia. She was worried about how this would affect her family. She ended up receiving incredible support.
Ann Wauters, a Belgium native playing for the WNBA in America, got her first taste of Olympic running the Belgian squad in 2021 at the age of forty. She recalled her journey of coming out, for her it happened much later in life.
She realized she never felt right when dating men but felt immense joy being with her first girlfriend. Ann mentioned the challenges of playing in countries that are not gay-friendly but she still tries to respect the culture of the country.
Emma Wiggs, a British para canoeist gold medallist, was a late bloomer when it came to understanding her sexual identity. Wiggs only came to understand that she was gay at the age of 30.
She believes speaking about her identity openly will provide the opportunity for other LGBT+ people to do the same. Wiggs has taken gold twice in the Paralympics, first in 2012 and then at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Wiggs is happily married and jokingly said it’s up to her wife if she retires or not.
Nesthy Petecio will forever be remembered as a true Olympic champion after achieving a number of world firsts. When Petecio secured her silver medal at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, she tearfully dedicated it to the LGBTQ+ community stating “This fight is also for the LGBTQ community.”
Among her groundbreaking achievements, Petecio is the first and only Filipina woman to win a boxing medal at the Olympics as well as being the first Filipina to win a medal in the boxing division for the Philippines in twenty-five years.
Astrid Guyart had a very eventful year to usher in her retirement. Guyart seized the opportunity to come out as an LGBTQ+ athlete at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics and then went on to secure second place in the Team Women’s Foil, earning her a silver medal.
She spoke of openly embracing her identity as a lesbian in her teens and recalled how her then-girlfriend would not come out, but today the athelet is happily married to her wife, Julie.
Susannah has made a name for herself in the world of field hockey – so much so that she has even earned herself an MBE. Townsend was integral to her team striking gold at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.
For Lesbian Visibility Day, which takes place each year on April the 26th, Townsend shared a few heartfelt words, exclaiming that you have to love yourself first.
Rooskrantz is a South African gymnast, she is famed for being the first out female gymnast to take part in the Olympics. Rooskrantz’s star continues to rise from what she says are humble beginnings in Johannesburg.
At the Tokyo Summer Olympics, Rooskrantz competed in all four apparatus gymnast events, namely vault, floor, bar and beam. Openly proud, Rooskrantz is known for sharing pictures of her and her female partner on her private social media accounts.
Mexican rhythmic gymnast Rut Castillo twirled onto the Olympic scene at the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics. As far as inspirational stories go, Castillo’s certainly ranks near the top. With no trainer nor facilities, she managed to secure an online trainer.
This is in the face of overcoming a severe back injury. Rut openly shares posts of her and her girlfriend for her fans on social media. She does note the stigma of being gay in her home country still affects her lifestyle.
Tom Bosworth is a British Olympic race walker who disclosed his being a gay man in October 2015 on a BBC show. Coming out wasn’t exactly new for Tom who has long been known as such to all close friends, family, and colleagues.
His public disclosure was more to provide an answer for longstanding fans. Tom’s passion to champion LGBTQ+ rights has gone as far as him stating that he would take the chance of being imprisoned in defending LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar.
Thirty-six-year-old Eric Radford is a Canadian pair skater who has achieved Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medals. On top of this, Radford is acknowledged as the first out gay man to secure a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, having announced his being a gay man at the peak of his skating career.
He has been married to Luis Fenero since 2019. A representative for the Canadian Olympic Committee’s #OneTeam, Radford helps craft learning programs that battle homophobia in sport.
Christopher Kinney, a Japanese-American bobsledder, competed with his team at the four-man bobsleigh event in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Kinney wrote a truly moving article in 2020 describing very intimate challenges he experienced being a bisexual man while living in Japan.
However, at the Winter Olympics, a fellow LGBTQ+ teammate encouraged Kinney to come out. Feeling confident after Olympic success, Kinney openly did so.
Augustus Richard Kenworthy, an Olympic silver medal holder in the Men’s slopestyle, has gained a following as an athlete, actor, and YouTube personality. Kentworthy picked up his silver medal during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Publically coming out in 2015 during an ESPN interview, he sated he wanted to come out with an interview in a big platform, saying he hopes his coming out will help kids all over the world.
Kate O’Brien, an out gay Olympian and Paralympian, has seen the full gamut of the Olympics, having gone from being part of Team Canada in the track cycling division in the 2016 Rio Olympics and then the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
After her tire burst O’Brien suffered a collision while cycling at an outdoor track. The grim diagnosis that she would never cycle again gave her the motivation to endure and compete in the Paralympics as a paracyclist.
It took Alana Maldonado, a visually impaired judoka, five years to clinch gold at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Paralympics after winning a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Summer Paralympics.
Maldonado was so overjoyed at the win she made a vow not to remove the medal from her neck until she was reunited with her longtime girlfriend, Wedja Santos, a fellow Judoka.
Mark, a competitive swimmer, bagged gold at the Barcelona ’92 Olympics in the one hundred-meter backstroke. In a startling sign of the times, Tewksbury famously recorded an interview about being a gay athlete by hiding his identity in fear of losing income.
As a result, he is now a champion for global gay rights and is even a recipient of the Order of Canada. A far cry from having to hide who he truly was all those decades ago.
Jen is one of the most well-known goalball players in the Paralympic circuit. Beginning her Paralympic career at the 1992 Barcelona ’92 Paralympics, Armbruster has helped her team score bronze, silver, and gold between 1996 and 2016 at the Paralympics.
A proud parent, Armbruster has four children with her wife Jackie. She lost her sight progressively, but that turned out to be for the best! She had intentions to follow in her father’s military footsteps but the loss of sight led her to sports instead.
Previously known as Rebecca, Quinn is a non-binary and transgender professional soccer player from Canada. They helped their team gain a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by defeating Sweden after a round of penalty kicks.
They are widely known for being the first transgender and non-binary athlete in the Olympics. While relating their thoughts about previous LGBTQ+ athletes, Quinn said that they feel sorry knowing there were Olympians before them that couldn't live as their true selves.
Dutee Chand, an Indian professional sprinter, had her fair share of uphill battles in the sporting world. Dutee found herself disqualified from competing in 2018 due to high androgen levels, a rule imposed by the IAAF.
Hyperandrogenism is believed to give athletes with the condition an unfair advantage over other competitors. She did qualify, however, for the Women’s 100 Metres event at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Chand has been in a long-term relationship with her girlfriend and found the willingness to come out after India’s Supreme Court decriminalized gay sex in 2018.
Cizeron took home silver in the 2018 Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang. Winning medals is a familiar feeling for Guillaume, who was the world ice dancing champion four times over.
Though out for most of his life, Cizeron decided that on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, he would share a post about being openly gay. Cozying up to his boyfriend, Cizeron captioned the post with the famous words “Celebrate love.”
Nicola is a retired boxer from West Yorkshire, England. In a very fulfilling career of impressive records, Adams, an out lesbian, counts being the first out LGBTQ+ to win a gold medal for boxing at the Olympics.
She has also been recognized by The Independent as the most influential LGBTQ+ individual in Britain. After taking home gold at the 2012 Olympics, Adams successfully kept her title by defeating her French rival at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.
David Lee Pearson
Sir David Lee Pearson is a prolific Paralympic gold medallist, having obtained fourteen gold medals in the Paralympic para-equestrian competition. Dominating in almost every division, Pearson remains a true force in the para-equestrian field.
After bagging his twelfth Paralympic gold medal, Pearson gave a truly moving speech about challenges encountered by those facing physical disabilities and LGBTQ+ issues. Within the speech, Pearson explained that love has to conquer everything else.
Šárka Pančochová Šárka
Pančochová is known for her eccentric and lively attitude. The snowboarder has twice represented her country, the Czech Republic, at the Olympics. First in 2012 and secondly at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
She qualified for the final round in the slopestyle division but sadly crashed out. True to her childlike nature, Pančochová donned a zebra onesie when coming out in an interview in 2017.
Mitcham’s final splash at the 2008 Australia 2008 Summer Olympics earned him a historic gold. Not only was Mitcham the first Australian in the male diving division to win Olympic gold in 84 years but he was also the first out Australian diver to do so.
Mitcham is far more reserved about his identity and has told interviewers that sees being LGBTQ+ as only one small part of his identity. Mitcham did admit that he found it humbling to receive a flurry of letters from gay teenagers after his historic win.
Megan Rapinoe might be one of the most familiar LGBTQ+ athletes in the world. Rapinoe is as renowned for her soccer skills as for her LGBTQ+ activism. Rapinoe famously captained her team to a gold medal at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, scoring two goals at crucial moments in the game.
She has contributed greatly to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and donates one percent of her wages along with a group of like-minded soccer players to supper soccer charities.
Boari, a recurve archer, made history as the first Italian woman to get a medal in archery at the Olympics. At the press conference that followed, a gushing Boari recounted that her dream of winning an Olympic medal has finally come true.
In the flurry of congratulatory messages, Lucilla became noticeably emotional at one particular message from Dutch archer Saane De Laat. After having the message read to her, she came out and divulged that she and Saane are in a relationship.
Regina George, a 400-meter sprint superstar, was born to Nigerian and Venezuelan parents in Chicago. After beating Nigeria at a 4 x 400-meter event in 2010, she consulted with her coach about the possibility of her representing Nigeria in athletics.
Only two years later, George was running for the Nigerian team at the 2012 London Olympics. As an out athlete, George had no issue announcing her relationship with fellow track and field sportsperson, Inika McPherson.
Elena Delle Donne
Donne kept the tradition of Delawareans bringing home gold medals. Six foot five Delle made the team to represent Women’s Basketball at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. She helped her team beat Spain to clinch the gold medal in the finals.
A renowned sportsperson, Delle Donne wed her fiancee in 2017. Before the wedding took place, she graciously stated that her and her wife’s wedding wasn't just for them, but also for other LGBTQ+ people.
Dynamite comes in small packages. Five-foot-two Filipina boxer Irish Magno became the first female Filipina boxer to make the grade for the Olympic games and went on to represent the Philippines at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
Magno has punched her way through many stereotypes as a female boxer. Her career was met with skepticism in her homeland. While not particularly vocal about her identity and LGBTQ+ issues, Magno is out and has been in a long-term relationship with her girlfriend, Erny Ann Micua.
Canadian cyclist Georgia Simmerling has twice represented her home country of Canada at the Olympics, helping secure a silver medal for her mates in the team pursuit division.
Simmerling proposed to her long-time girlfriend, Canadian soccer player Stephanie Labbé in August of 2021. Speaking of her relationship with Labbé as both a lesbian and fellow sportsperson, Georgia said that Labbé understands exactly what she goes through as an out person in the world of athletics.
Kellie Harrington proudly added gold to Ireland’s reserve of Olympic medals. The boxer from Dublin, Ireland slogged her way to domination at the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Harrington has neither come out nor “not come out”.
She’s been in a relationship with long-time partner Mandy Loughlin for over a decade. Speaking of her sexual identity, Harrington remarked that her sexuality has nothing to do with what she has achieved and that her private life and professional life have a clear distinction.
Two-time Paralympian rower Laura Goodkind has stated that the platform of sport is the perfect channel to express themself and serve as inspiration to other LGBTQ+ individuals.
Goodkind identifies as non-binary and says that they only found peace around their identity once being made aware of the spectrum of genders. By being a voice for gender-neutral folk, Goodkind hopes that this will allow people to transcend labels.
Pellington competed in the Women’s Basketball division representing her country Canada at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Proudly out, she recently became engaged to her partner, Arizona gymnast Sirena Linton.
The couple is well known for posting very affectionate and intimate Instagram posts proclaiming their devotion to each other. After returning from the Olympics, Pellington took the position of senior guard for the Arizona Women’s Basketball team.
Wheelchair basketball player Cindy Ouellet has overcome a multitude of hurdles. She conquered a fatal disease as a teenager and as a result, has to use a wheelchair full-time. She credits sport with saving her life.
Ouellet is also proudly gay and has spoken out on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community stating that we should teach all kids that it is ok to be queer, or whatever you want to be you can be.
One time Olympian judoka Alice Bellandi is proudly out. Famous for her heartfelt tributes to her girlfriend, she makes it clear who her inspiration in her sporting career is.
Bellandi, unfortunately, did not take home a medal from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Her being out as a notable public figure is a milestone in Italy as the country does not allow for same-sex marriage and only recognizess civil unions.
New Zealand rugby player Gayle Broughton was part of the team that grabbed a much-deserved gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Broughton proudly carries her Māori heritage alongside her coming out as a lesbian. Broughton had, even more, to be proud of, she is in the New Zealand Women's Rugby team. Her team took the prize of the Best Female Team of the 2020 Olympics. Broughton has adopted a child with her partner, Tahlia Lawrence.
Abby is an American wheelchair basketball player. Dunkin was not always wheelchair-bound, though. But, Sport had always been part of Dunkin’s life and this setback did not prevent her from pursuing a career in it.
She took home gold with her team in the 2016 Rio Paralympics. A passionate voice for the LGBTQ+ community, Dunkin has said that it’s important for LGBTQ+ athletes to speak up about their experiences.
Moran Samuel is an Israeli multi-medallist, scoring gold, silver, and bronze medals in wheelchair basketball and rowing. As with other athletes mentioned above, Moran was not always disabled and only lost the use of her legs at the age of twenty-four.
This did not keep Moran down and she persisted in her sporting ambitions. She joined the Bet HaLohem team as the only female member. Openly lesbian, Moran has two children with her wife, Limor Samuel Goldberg.
Bowe, known as a speed queen for her speed skating prowess, is an out LGBTQ+ athlete from the United States. Brittany competed in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics but failed to make an impression. She does hold a few world records, however.
Bowe has stated she is LGBTQ+ but has not made it clear where on the spectrum. She has opened up and spoken about her relationship with a woman.
Julie Chu is an American ice hockey player from Connecticut. Chu is a prominent Olympian, having competed in no less than four Olympic tournaments. Her sporting skill and athletic ability have afforded her a few records and titles. She has earned her the place of being the second most honored American woman in Olympic Winter Games history.
An out lesbian, Chu is married to a fellow hockey player and gold medallist Caroline Ouellet. They have a four-year-old daughter, Liv.
Raz is an Israeli Olympic bronze medallist and openly lesbian judoka. Hershko has the rather endearing nickname to epitomize her judo abilities: “Hershkules”.
She displays her relationship with her girlfriend on her social media accounts. The multi-medallist participated in some of the most prominent judo events in the world having captured bronze, silver, and gold medals in Canada, Europe, Turkey, and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Harvey is an out British Paralympian with discipline in sitting volleyball and track and field. Better known for her sitting volleyball career, Harvey and the Great Britain Women’s National Sitting Volleyball Team took part in the fiercely competitive London 2012 Summer Olympics.
Having a home-ground advantage did not help though as the team sadly placed last overall. Harvey now has the position of Leader for Inclusive Leadership at KPMG, she also oversees the United Kingdom’s LGBTQ+ Sports Charter Steering Group.
Italian swimmer Rachele Bruni holds a special place in the LGBTQ+ community as being recognized as the first gay Italian athlete to come out. Bruni, twenty-five at the time, bagged a silver at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Bruni’s public admission has helped steer inclusivity in Italy.
She admits that she never experienced any anxiety or need to keep her sexuality a secret and everyone close to her knew she was gay.
Olympic diver Robert Páez has used his illustrious diving career as a soundboard for LGBTQ+ issues. Growing up in a very conservative town in Venezuela, Páez struggled for years to fully appreciate his sexuality.
Páez spoke eloquently about the gay experience, saying that life is beautiful and no one should be hidden in a closet. He competed in the 2012 London Summer Olympics and the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics in the three-meter springboard division.
McCoughtry was a part of the U.S Women’s Olympic Basketball team that scored gold at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. The six-foot-one McCoughtry identifies as gay. In a very emotional Instagram post, she stated that connection is all that matters to her.
In the same post, McCoughtry alluded to the discrimination she and her ex-fiancee faced. Family, friends, and professional relationships were affected.
South African-born Leigh-Ann Naidoo is an out Olympian beach volleyball player. Naidoo competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens but unfortunately, her team did not qualify to advance to the medal rounds.
A passionate activist for LGBTQ+ rights, Naidoo was asked to become an ambassador of the Gay Games. Originally from Durban, she now resides in Cape Town, South Africa with her long-term girlfriend Kelly Gillespie.
Wright made a name for herself at the 2016 Rio Paralympics by scooping five medals – four silver and one bronze. Hailing from Great Britain, Crystal is a track and road para cyclist. Speaking to British Cycling, Lane-Wright did outline both her sexuality and her career stating that she sees being gay as an advantage as it made her stronger.
Stronger indeed as she shares the enviable title of having multiple medals at a single Paralympic tournament.
Matthews is a sitting volleyball Paralympian. She was instrumental in catapulting her team to victory at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics having scored nineteen points, making her one of only three American sitting volleyball players to achieve such an impressive tally.
Monique has spoken openly and supportively of her husband’s transition. When she married her husband Landon in 2016, he had not yet transitioned and she recalls some of the challenges faced during this time.
Mia is a retired Norwegian handball player who grabbed bronze with her team at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. Hundvin was highly praised for scoring the winning goal against South Korea that afforded the team the coveted bronze medal.
She shared a registered partnership with her girlfriend and fellow handball player Camilla Andersen for three years before breaking off the relationship. Hundvin does not define herself as a lesbian and says that when she has feelings for someone she forgets their gender.
Forty-year-old Robert Newton is a retired hurdler that competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Even though Newton was Britain’s number one hurdler at the time, he was unsuccessful in qualifying for the second round.
Openly gay, he recalled the conversation with his manager about coming out publically. His manager told him that people would either love him or hate him for doing this. Newton felt he had to be a role model and went ahead with the decision to come out.
Johnny Weir Johnny
Weir is somewhat of a sports celebrity. A Pennsylvanian native, he has had a highly decorated career as an American figure skater and two-time Olympian. He only came out officially close to retirement. He details this in his 2011 autobiography, recalling being hesitant to embrace his sexuality after being told by a talent agent that it would harm his burgeoning skating career.
Weir stirred some controversy in the LGBTQ+ community when he was contracted to be a commentator for the Sochi Olympics.
Anja Pärson is a retired Swedish Alpine skier. A three-time Olympian, Pärson bagged six medals between the 2002, 2006, and 2010 Olympic games. She officially came out in 2012 while being interviewed on a radio program, divulging that she and her partner, Filippa Rådin, had been together for five years.
Pärson has dropped accusations at the International Olympic Committee of being “out of touch” with LGBTQ+ issues and accusing it of not standing up for gay rights during the Sochi Olympics.
Vervoort was a Belgian wheelchair sprinter. Developing a medical condition in her early adolescence was an almost impossible obstacle for Vervoort’s career. But she overcame every hurdle she faced.
Marieke bagged gold and at the 2012 London Paralympics and went on to win silver and bronze at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Vervoort passed away peacefully in 2019 after achieving things many can only dream of.
Six foot five-inch Ebrar Karakurt is a Turkish volleyball player. Making the grade to be part of the Turkish Olympic Volleyball team came with some vicious attacks.
After coming out on her social media and posting images of her girlfriend, Karakurt endured months of criticism from prominent Turkish figures, including her relationship being labeled as “scandalous” by one popular newspaper. Her teammates and coach rallied around her and pushed back against the attacks with equal force.
Twigg is a world champion rower and four-time Olympian from New Zealand. A multi-medallist, Twigg finally scooped gold at her fourth Olympic tournament in the single sculls event during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Though long identified as gay, Twigg felt inspired to pursue advocacy and involvement in the LGBTQ+ community after her marriage to her wife, Charlotte, in 2020.
Urtez is an American softball player who represented Mexico in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. During their game against Japan, Anissa made world history being the first to hit a home run for the Mexican Olympic Softball team.
She is out and engaged to fellow softball player Amanda Chidester. Interestingly, Urtez and Chidester played for opposing teams during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as Chidester represented America.
Californian native Tara Llanes is a true multi-sportsperson and Olympian. Llanes is best known for her career as a BMX rider. A devastating crash during a 2007 BMX race left Lllanes with an injury, but she has gone on to compete in wheelchair tennis and wheelchair basketball.
Having known she was gay since a young age, Llanes struggled to come out for fear of losing sponsorship. Having finally come out, she claims the feeling was liberating.
New Zealander Portia Woodman is a two-time Olympian and internationally acclaimed rugby player. She was only twenty-four years old when she became the top try scorer during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. She achieved a total of ten tries and managed to help secure her team with a silver medal.
A member of the New Zealand Sevens team during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Woodman, and her team brought home the gold. Openly lesbian, Woodman has spoken at length about her long-term relationship with fellow rugby player Renee Wickliffe.
Nick Wagman, an American equestrian, never brought his sexual identity to the forefront. However, after being selected to join Team USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Wagman decided he would open up about his experience as a gay athlete.
He attributed his confusion around his sexuality as the driving force that led him to horseriding stating in an interview that it was his love of horses that got him through high school.
Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh
Kate Richardson-Walsh and her wife, Helen Richardson-Walsh have a sporting love story made in heaven. They made Olympic history as the first out married, lesbian couple to compete together in the Women’s Field Hockey event during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.
To add the cherry on top, the power couple helped their team bag a gold medal during the event. Teammates for almost twenty years and married since 2013, they have shared many memorable moments on the field together.
This Polish native is a competitive sports shooter and one-time Olympian. Jarmolinska made an appearance in a video for the Polish LGBTQ+ rights organization Love Does Not Exclude (Miłość Nie Wyklucza). She has been vocally supportive of LGBTQ+ rights in her home country that does not recognize same-sex unions or marriages.
Aleksandra has made a passionate plea to the authorities stating that she wants her country to grant her equal rights.
American-Australian Leilani Mitchell is a one-time Olympian basketball player. Mitchell, standing at five feet five inches, is significantly shorter than the average basketball player but her skill has kept her in high demand, and she has played for both American and Australian teams.
She took part in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but her team battled to make it past the quarter-finals. Openly out Mitchell is married to fellow basketball player Mikaela Dombkins with whom she has a child.
Chelsea Gray is an American professional basketball player. A one-time Olympian, Chelsea was on the United States Women’s Basketball Team alongside her gold medal-winning teammates at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Openly gay Gray married her wife Tipesa Mercedes Moorer, a fellow basketball player, in October 2019. As part of her charity work, she uses her free time to help train young kids in AAU.
Rowles is a force to be reckoned with in the Paralympic rowing world. A two-time Olympian and gold winner at both the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Lauren has also set world records at the World Rowing championships.
She has stated that she wants to be the “gay, disabled role model” hoping to inspire other LGBTQ+ youth who are struggling with disability and gender identity issues.
2020 and 2021 had a silver lining for Monica Sereda – it afforded her the opportunity to recover from a bout of ailments. After an accident left Sereda with trauma, she found cycling during her rehabilitation therapy.
Not long after, Sereda was enlisting for cycling competitions and claimed her one-time Paralympian title at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, placing fourth in her division.