Major congrats to fellow Blue Devils Nick McCrory, Abby Johnston, and Coach K for their recent success across the pond at the 2012 London Games. I was luckily enough to travel out to Las Vegas for a week in July to work with the men’s basketball team before Krzyzewski & Co. headed overseas. I like to think America won gold because of my stellar performance shagging balls for KD, Lebron, and Kobe. Probably has more to do with their sheer athleticism, talent, and basketball IQ. But hey, I can dream.
I love the Olympics. For two weeks, 11,000 athletes from over 200 countries come together to compete and celebrate everything we love about athletics. I’ll leave it to twitter and the rest of the blogosphere to rant about the failures of NBC’s Olympic coverage. I love twenty Michael Phelps interviews as much as the next kid, but there were so many compelling and moving personal narratives and storylines that went unnoticed to the American audience. Let’s see how Team LGBT fared at London 2012:
- For starters, over 100 out LGBT athletes have competed in the Summer Olympics over the years.
- The HuffPo created a cool slideshow of the 23 out athletes in London.
- Tony Scupham-Bilton created a really cool cheat sheet that breaks down LGBT Olympians in past years, their sports, and how they fared in competition.
- The Advocate kept a Team LGBT medal count during the 2012 Olympic games. The results? At least 23 out athletes/coaches competed this year, winning 10 medals. 7 Gold (4 women on the same Dutch field hockey team), 1 Silver, 2 Bronze. That beats Jamaica, Ireland, and Argentina.
- Outsports calculates over HALF of out LGBT Olympic athletes have won medals.
- The Netherlands women’s field hockey team had four out athletes on its squad. Two lesbian players, Carlien Dirske van den Huevel and team captain Maartje Paumen, scored the Dutch squad’s only goals as they defeated Argentina 2-0 to win the gold medal.
- Seimone Augustus won gold for the USofA in women’s basketball.
- South African archer Karen Hultzer officially came out during the Olympics. Part of her statement in an OutSports interview: “I am an archer, middle aged and a lesbian. I am also cranky before my first cup of coffee. None of these aspects define who I am, they are simply a part of me.”
- Ann Romney's horse Rafalca couldn’t slow down the queers either. Great Britain’s dressage team, which includes out equestrian rider Carl Hester, took home the gold. The Dutch team and out rider Edward Gal took home bronze. Maybe this was God’s way of punishing Ann for supporting a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Or maybe her horse and rider were just sixth best. Money can’t buy everything.
- US women’s soccer coach Pia Sundhage and player Megan Rapinoe won gold in London.
Of course we need to brainstorm how LGBT athletes and allies can work together to create an environment where more than 23 athletes are out. But for now lets take a moment and recognize the accomplishments of these individuals, the struggles they’ve overcome, and the ways in which they continue to inspire.