Team LGBTQ+ Weren't Just Out And Proud, They Also Made History At The Winter Olympics
Thirty-six LGBTQ+ athletes from across world made history at the queerest Winter Olympics ever this year.
Queer history once again!
At the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Team LGBTQ+, the informal name for queer athletes at the games, broke records and made history in a stunning showing.
Outsports tallied at least 36 total queer athletes, a record at the Winter Olympics, with Team LGBTQ+ winning nine medals, four of them gold. That means Team LGBTQ+ would've been 12th overall in the medal standings if they were a country, despite only having comparatively few athletes.
The country with the most queer athletes was Canada with 10 queer athletes, while 5 competed for America and 4 for Great Britain.
To break down all the queer excellence at the games, here are the queer highlights of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The first nonbinary athlete at the Olympics shined under the lights.
A two-time national champion, Timothy LeDuc made history as the first nonbinary athlete to compete at an Olympic Games.
While they were not really in the race for a medal, they walked away with an 8th place finish, joining the other American pairs team in the top 10.
With their place in the Olympics, the conversation around pronouns, inclusion, and broader queer representation and acceptance sparked up around the world and allowed some queer excellence to shine across every corner of the globe.
The Canada and US hockey team continued their gold medal rivalry.
The US and Canadian Olympic hockey rivalry is one that has continued for decades, with each team trading off the gold and silver medals each time. This year, the US failed to defend their gold from 2018, losing to Canada 3-2.
Still, both teams had their share of queer teammates with Erin Ambrose, Emily Clark, Melodie Daoust, Brianne Jenner, Jamie Lee Rattray, Jill Saulnier, and Micah Zandee-Hart as the gold-winning out Canadian athletes. Alex Carpenter was the sole out American on their hockey team.
In the bronze medal match, Finland's lone queer player, Ronja Savolainen, helped them win the third place medal.
French Ice Dance champions broke records in their return for gold.
Queer ice dance legend Guillaume Cizeron and his partner Gabriella Papadakis made a triumphant return to the Olympics with gold on their minds and went away with a world-record shattering performance.
The two four-time world champions were poised to win gold four years ago, but a costume mishap took them down to the silver spot. This year, they were far and away considered the favorites for gold and were not shy in their desires for the top spot.
Cizeron and his partner are living legends and have been continuously at the top of the podium their entire career. Cizeron came out in 2020.
The most decorated queer Winter-Olympian in history struck gold again.
Ireen Wüst is a speed-skating legend who has won pretty much everything under the sun in her sport and showed the world why once again this year.
She won the 1500m race, earning her sixth gold medal and later got bronze in the Team Pursuit with the Netherlands in an outstanding showing for the five-time Olympian, who is now the third most decorated Winter Olympian of all time.
The first out athlete to win a gold in these games, Wüst also became the first person to medal in five different Winter Olympics and has the most medals amongst queer athletes period.
Third time's the charm for an out American speed skater.
In her third Olympics, Brittany Bowe overcame a long American drought by winning a bronze in the 1000m race.
The American flag-bearer has been a constant in the speed-skating world for over a decade and has won almost all the trophies you can aim for in that sport. Bowe was a long shot for a gold, but had what it takes to make her performance podium worthy.
The bisexual Olympian made headlines before the Olympics for giving up one of her spots in the 500m race to Erin Jackson, who went on to win gold in that event, showing that Team LGBTQ+ isn't only talented, but kind and somewhat prophetic.
Ski Board Cross had action and history.
Sandra Näslund, the Swedish ski crosser, went into these games having won 9 of her last 10 World Cup events, making her the favorite for her eventual gold.
She had problems in her previous two Olympics, despite decent shots at the podium with a 4th and 5th place finish, and had her toughest rivals in the final for gold.
On social media, she is out and proud, and remains the No. 1 world ranked ski crosser in the world.
Curling is a wild and intense sport.
While curling may not seem like the most action-packed sport, it is very intense. Look no further than the gold medal men's game, which went down to the millimeter.
In the gold medal match, Bruce Mouat, the gay British curler, and his team fell just short of gold, with the game entering an extra end for the first time in Olympic history.
While it wasn't gold, this medal helped Britain earn their first medal of the games, and it's likely we will see Mouat for years to come.
Gay icon Gus Kenworthy gives it one last go.
At his third and final Olympics, skier Gus Kenworthy competed one final time for gold in his signature event, the ski halfpipe, but suffered a fall and placed 8th.
The 2014 silver medalist didn't let his spirits waver though, using the last chance to soak up the Olympics and make the most of his time. Although he grew up in America, Kenworthy chose to represent Great Britain, where his mother was born, and dedicated his last runs to her.
One of the most vocal queer athletes of his time, Kenworthy will leave behind a sporting world that is slowly but surely becoming a queer-friendly place.