Blogs & Columns
2 min

The out Olympic athletes

Outsport.com has released a list of openly gay athletes and coaches participating in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. There is a total of 12,602 athletes competing, 18 of which are confirmed gay. That means that the out gays make up less than one percent of Olympic athletes.

Greg Louganis, a four-time Olympic gold medal winner for diving who came out after retiring, shared his thoughts on why so few gay athletes are out of the closet:

“All I can do is relate to my own journey. I was out to my friends and my family. It was just my policy not to discuss my sexuality to members of the media. I wanted my participation in the sport to be about the sport. I didn’t want it to be about being the gay diver.

Today, we have more positive images in media when it comes to sexuality and representation — we’re just regular people — so I think it’s a more positive atmosphere. When I was on my book tour in ’95, I had a lot of people come up to me and say they were gay and they weren’t out and they were in a team sport. It’s tough if you’re in a team sport, because you’re relying on your team. I think it’s a little easier when you’re talking about an individual sport because it’s just you out there and you’re pretty self-reliant.” 

Here is the list of gay athletes, and their sports, in the 2012 games:

Matthew Mitcham (Australia, diving); Edward Gal (Netherlands, equestrian); Lisa Raymond (US, doubles tennis); Judith Arndt (Germany, cycling); Seimone Augustus (US, basketball); Imke Duplitzer (Germany, fencing); Megan Rapinoe (US, soccer); Marilyn Agliotti (Netherlands, field hockey);Carl Hester (Britain, equestrian); Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel (Netherlands, field hockey); Mayssa Pessoa (Brazil, handball); Rikke Skov (Denmark, handball); Maartje Paumen (Netherlands, field hockey); Natalie Cook (Australia, beach volleyball); Alexandra Lacrabere (France, handball); Jessica Landstrom (Sweden, soccer); and Carole Péon (France, triathlon); and Jessica Harrison (France, triathlon). Péon and Harrison are a couple.

In addition, Pia Sundhage, head coach of the American women’s soccer team, is openly gay, as is Hope Powell, a coach of the British women’s soccer team. The gay Paralympians are Lee Pearson, a male British equestrian athlete, and Claire Harvey, a member of Britain’s women’s volleyball team.