“Out” Athletes at the Olympics

Forty-five athletes at the 2016 Summer Olympics are open members of the LGBTQ community.  Eight of these athletes are from the United States.  Hayden’s List congratulates these outstanding Olympians and wishes them nothing but success in their quest for gold!

Seimone Augustus, Basketball
Augustus is a five-time All Star with the WNBA and is heading into Rio as a two-time Olympic gold medalist. She is an advocate for the LGBTQ community, especially in sports, saying it is the “alpha-male ego” of male athletes that cannot accept gay players.

Elena Delle Donne, Basketball
Donne was the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 WNBA draft.  She is a current member of the Chicago Sky.  Donne is also a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics.  She came out right before the Opening Ceremonies to Vogue Magazine.

Kelly Griffin, Rugby

Griffin is a member of the first-ever Olympic Women’s Rugby Team for the United States. She is married to Ashley Griffin with two children.

Brittney Griner, Basketball
Griner is passionate about fighting bullying. She told the LA Times “When I was younger, it really bothered me…I’ve learned to love myself.”

Angel McCoughtry, Basketball

McCoughtry grew up with “traditional” family values and father who was a pastor. Needless to say she was scared to come out. McCoughtry told ESPN “…I wasn’t expecting it to turn out this positive.”

Ashley Nee, Kayak White Water Slalom
Nee was terrified of rapids as a child and now is competing for gold.  After a shoulder injury took her out of the 2008 Summer Olympics, it was Nee’s wife who encouraged her to continue to pursue her dream.

Jillion Potter, Rugby
Potter has come back from a spinal injury and a cancer diagnosis to compete in Rio.  She’s also come a long way from her Texas high school that cut a girl from the basketball team for being gay.  Potter believes that rugby is a very accepting sport, “…anyone has a place, and it really becomes a safe place to be yourself.”  She also takes her responsibility as an “out” athlete very seriously. “It transforms society’s views when young boys and girls see gay athletes with their partners, and they ask their parents, ‘Oh, that’s OK?’ It becomes commonplace, something people don’t have to be afraid of.”

Megan Rapinoe, Soccer
Rapinoe competed in London in 2012 and scored a “Goal Olimpico” which is kicking a ball in a curve from the corner of the field.  She came home with the gold medal.  Rapinoe works with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and also Athlete Ally.

Quick Facts:

  • Twenty-four percent or eleven athletes of the forty-five “out” athletes are male
  • Seventy-six percent or thirty-four of the athletes female
  • For the United States, all “out” athletes are female

Do you agree with Seimone Augustus and the “alpha-male ego” that does not allow for gay males to be out as athletes?  Share with Hayden’s List your thoughts.

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