By Solby Lim GLAAD.org | February 4, 2022
The opening ceremony for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics commenced early this morning, with 84 countries and over 2,800 athletes competing for a medal in the Winter Games. At least 35 out LGBTQ athletes are at the Games this year, a record-breaking number for out athletes.
These competitors represent more than 10 different countries across 9 sports, with athletes like US figure skaters Timothy Leduc and Alysa Liu making their Olympic debut and Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst, the most decorated Olympic speed skater of all time, heading into her fifth Winter Games. Lesbian ice hockey forward Jamie Lee Rattray will be one of three Indigenous athletes competing for Canada at the Olympics.
Out athletes have been vocal in their support for fellow LGBTQ athletes leading up to the Olympics. 3-time Olympic Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff and US Olympic champion figure skater Brian Boitano expressed messages of welcome and love for first-time and returning LGBTQ competitors last month, with Brockhoff remarking how LGBTQ athletes make a huge impact and promote inclusivity in sport.
Canadian figure skater Eric Radford also voiced his support for LGBTQ athletes, underscoring the importance of representation and the difference LGBTQ athletes make in their sports. Radford was the first out gay man to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in 2014.
Radford and Brockhoff are both ambassadors for Athlete Ally, a non-profit organization working to champion LGBTQ equality in sports through education, policy, and social advocacy. Some of Athlete Ally’s work includes the Principle 6 campaign, which successfully lobbied for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Olympic charter, and publishing their Athlete Equality Index, the first report on LGBTQ inclusivity policies in collegiate athletics. Athlete Ally recently partnered with GLAAD on the Guide to Covering LGBTQ Athletes at the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics.
GLAAD celebrates the historic 35 out LGBTQ athletes competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Alongside Athlete Ally, a national nonprofit working to elevate and advocate for LGBTQ athletes, and OutChina, GLAAD is proud to release a “Guide to Covering LGBTQ Athletes at the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics” as a resource to journalists and media professionals. You can access the guide here or use the QR code below.