This year's Winter Olympics looks to be record-breaking for queer athletes.
For the Winter Olympics (usually the second fiddle of the two Olympic siblings), the amount of LGBTQ+ people who take part is significantly lower.
The 2020 Summer Olympics featured 185 out LGBTQ+ athletes competing during those games, an amount that is more than every other LGBTQ+ person in every other Summer and Winter Olympics combined, according to Out Sports. The previous 2018 Winter Olympics had 15 queer people in total.
With that in mind, this year looks to be a record-breaking year for team LGBTQ+ at this year's Olympics, with an already record-breaking number of athletes in just one sport, as figure skating already has seven out individuals, including the first nonbinary athlete, confirmed to take the ice next month.
The games are scheduled to take place from February 4 to 20 in Beijing, and are far from being concrete, as a lot can happen between now and then. Still, here is the list of confirmed queer athletes heading to China for gold.
1. Timothy LeDuc - USA
Timothy LeDuc will become the first openly nonbinary athlete to compete at a Winter Olympics after they and their partner, Ashley Cain-Gribble, won the US Nationals Championship for pairs figure skating last week.
They beat their second place competitor by over 15 points to secure the gold for the second time in their career, making them the ones to watch going into their event.
In 2019, LeDuc became the first openly gay athlete to win gold in a US pairs’ event, according to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
2. lreen Wüst - Netherlands
Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst has asserted herself as not only a legend in her sport, but has won gold medals at every Olympics she has been in since Turin in 2006, making her the most decorated LGBTQ+ Olympian of all time.
The bisexual speed skater is entering the competition this year at 35, and it won’t be surprising if she tops the podium once again this year in her fifth Olympics.
With a flurry of nearly every type of award a speed skater can get, regardless of her showing, Wüst has shown she is queer excellence.
3. Brittany Bowe - USA
Speed skater Brittany Bowe will enter her third Olympics this year with a strong chance to medal after dominating her Olympic trial run this year.
She not only has the world record for the 1,000-meter distance, but has held four different world records throughout her career. Bowe has been one of the USA's best speed skaters in their distance for over a decade, and has done so as an out athlete.
Bowe was the first publicly out LGBTQ+ athlete to earn a spot on Team USA for the 2022 Olympics.
4. Jason Brown - USA
Jason Brown has been a longtime name in figure skating and joins Team USA once again this year, but for the first time will do so as an out gay man.
He came out last year on Instagram during Pride Month, saying, “I believe that love will always win, and every story will unfold differently for each individual. Mine unfolds now. I’m gay, and that’s a story still being written…”
Brown previously won a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and competed at the 2018 Olympics as well.
5. Guillaume Cizeron – France
Not only is Cizeron the favorite to take a gold at the upcoming Olympics, but he is one of the most decorated ice dancers of all time with his partner Gabriella Papadakis, who won a silver together at the 2018 Olympics.
A seven-time French National Champion and four-time World Champion who made history by winning the European Championships five times in a row, it won’t be hard to see this duo at the top of the podium.
He came out on Instagram with a picture of his boyfriend in 2020 on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
6. Kévin Aymoz - France
Kévin Aymoz will enter this year's Olympics as the five-time winner and reigning French National Champion, though this will be his first Olympics, where he hopes to crack through stiff competition in hopes of a medal.
A decorated skater who has placed in some of the most renowned skating competitions in the world, Aymoz enters this Olympics with a good shot to make an even bigger name for himself on Olympic ice.
7. Amber Glenn - USA
Amber Glenn will stand out among the crowd as one of the few bisexual and pansexual in figure skating and the only queer woman on the USA figure skating team. She currently stands as an alternate for the upcoming Olympics.
She tested positive for coronavirus at the US National Championships this year, forcing her out of the competition, but has placed nationally and around the world.
Glenn has been out since 2019 and has been a vocal advocate for increasing LGBTQ+ rights and representation within figure skating around the world while being the only queer woman on the USA national team.
8. Paul Poirier - Canada
Paul Poirier will enter his second Olympics this year for ice dancing, where he has proven himself a star on the world stage.
He and his partner Piper Gilles are two-time Canadian National Champions, as well as the 2021 World bronze medallist and a three-time Four Continents medalist.
Poirier will be one of the two out gay men competing for Canada at the upcoming Olympics.
9. Eric Radford - Canada
In 2018, pairs figure skater Eric Radford made history as the first openly gay man to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, also winning a bronze medal that year to add to his 2014 silver medal.
One of the most decorated and well-known pairs figure skater along with his former partner Meagan Duhamel, he will compete this year with Vanessa James, a French skater.
Radford married Spanish ice dancer Luis Fenero in 2019.
10. Bruce Mouat - Great Britain
Bruce Mouat is one of the best curlers in the world and has a good chance for a medal this year, with him crediting his success to coming out as gay.
"... as much as I can’t say for sure that it was my coming out that helped us to the success, it definitely seems to have some correlation,” Mouat told BBC.
He will lead Britain's four-man curling team and compete in mixed doubles during the upcoming Olympics.