At least 40 openly lesbian, gay and
bisexual athletes are competing the in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, a
Using sources such as OutSports,
Rights Campaign (HRC) compiled a list of the out Olympians.
Leading the pack in recognition in the United States are Megan
Rapinoe and Brittney Griner of the U.S. and Tom Daley of the U.K.
Ari-Pekka Liukkonen, Finland,
Liukkonen holds the Finnish record for the 50 meter
freestyle and attended the 2012 Olympics in London. He came out as
gay before the Sochi Olympics in 2014 to help draw attention to the
horrific conditions the LGBTQ community faces in Russia. “This has
been a long, slow process for me, but now I’m there…[and] it’s
a really great feeling that I can finally be myself,” Liukkonen
Carl Hester, Great Britain,
Rio will be Hester's fifth Olympic Games. He has
competed in the individual and group dressage events and took home
the gold medal in 2012 for his team event. Hester is openly gay.
Caroline Seger, Sweden, Soccer
is a midfielder for the Swedish national soccer team. She has
represented Sweden in three World Cups as well as the 2008 and 2012
Olympics. Seger came out in 2013.
Hedvig Lindahl, Sweden,
Lindahl has been awarded Sweden’s Goalkeeper of the
Year award three times and represented Sweden in the 2015 World Cup.
She married Sabine Willms in 2011. They have a son together who was
born in 2014.
Lisa Dahlkvist, Sweden,
Dahlkvist is a midfielder who played twice in the World
Cup and in the 2012 Olympics in London. She and wife Jessica
Danielsson welcomed their daughter Penny into the world in November.
Michelle Heyman, Australia,
Heyman is a striker for Canberra United, and Rio will
be her first Olympic trip. She wrote a powerful piece about her
coming out story, noting, “Being ‘out’ as a professional
athlete was simple for myself. From the day I told my parents, I
could be comfortable in my skin. I would never hide who I am, and I
think that is what makes me so confident within myself.”
Nilla Fischer, Sweden,
Fischer plays center back for the Swedish national team
and married her wife in 2013.
Robbie Manson, New Zealand,
Manson competed in the 2012 Olympics and won the bronze
medal at the 2015 World Championships. He wrote a powerful essay on
his journey and decision to come out for OutSports.
Seimone Augustus, United States,
Augustus has been playing professional basketball
since 2006 and currently plays for the Minnesota Lynx. She earned two
Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012. She married LaTaya Varner in
Hawaii last year.
Tom Bosworth, Great Britain, Race
Bosworth will be competing in his first Olympics this
year in the 20 kilometer walk. He came out last year as gay.
Tom Daley, Great Britain,
Daley won a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics in London.
He is engaged to Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance
Edward Gal, Netherlands,
Gal won the Bronze medal at the 2012 London
Olympics for team dressage, as well as taking home numerous gold
medals at the 2010 World Championship. He and teammate Hans Peter
Minderhoud have been in a relationship for several years.
Maartje Paumen, Netherlands, Field
Paumen has been a member of the Dutch national field
hockey team for many years, taking home two Olympic gold medals.
Collectively, Paumen has scored 14 goals in both the Beijing and
London Olympics, making her one of the top Olympic scorers. Paumen
came out in 2009 following the European Championship.
Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel,
Netherlands, Field Hockey
Van Den Heuvel scored two goals as a
member of the Dutch national team during the 2012 Olympics and took
home the gold medal.
Megan Rapinoe, United States,
Rapinoe is a midfielder who currently plays for the
Seattle Reign FC. She has played in multiple World Cups and the 2012
Olympics, where she famously scored a “Goal Olympico,” a goal
from a corner kick. Rapinoe came out just before the London games in
Mayssa Pessoa, Brazil,
Pessoa competed in the 2012 Olympics. She came out as
bisexual during the Olympic Games in London. She is engaged to Nikki
Hans Peter Minderhoud, Netherlands,
Minderhound took home the silver medal in the 2008
Olympics for team dressage and also took home gold at the Kentucky
World Championships in 2010. He dated fellow dressage competitor
Nicola Adams, Great Britain,
Adams is currently the world flyweight champion, after
defeating Thailand’s Peamwilai Laopeam in Kazakhstan. She will be
defending her 2012 gold medal in this year’s Olympics. She is
Larissa França, Brazil, Beach
Franca won the bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics
and won two Pan American Game titles. She married Lili Maestrini in
Brittney Griner, United States
Griner currently plays center for the Phoenix
Mercury and has been named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year twice.
She came out in 2013.
Stephanie Labbé, Canada,
Labbé is the goalkeeper for the Canadian National Team
as well as the Washington Spirit. She has represented Canada in two
World Cups and numerous other matches.
Alexandra Lacrabère, France,
Rio will be Lacrabère’s third Olympic Games.
Lacrabère was on France’s national women’s handball team when
they won the silver medal at the 2011 World Championships. She came
out before the London Olympics.
Ian Matos, Brazil, Diving
participated in the 2011 Pan American Games and came in fourth. He
also won a bronze medal in 2012 during a U.S. World Tour event. Matos
came out as gay in 2014.
Angel McCoughtry, United States,
McCoughtry plays for the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA.
She holds two WNBA scoring titles and is engaged to Brande Elise.
Marie-Eve Nault, Canada,
Nault has represented Canada as a defender in two World
Cups and the 2012 Olympics when Canada won the bronze medal. She has
been playing soccer since she was seven years old.
Ashley Nee, United States,
Nee won the bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American
Games. This will be her first Olympic Games. She suffered a shoulder
injury before the 2008 Olympics and just missed qualification for the
2012 Olympics. Her wife, Ashley McEwan, convinced her to continue
chasing her Olympic dreams.
Helen Richardson-Walsh, Great
Britain, Field Hockey
Richardson-Walsh has competed as a
midfielder in three Olympics and has been named to the International
Hockey Federation World All Stars Team three times. She and wife
Kate, who is also on the field hockey team, have been married since
2013 and will compete in Rio together.
Kate Richardson-Walsh, Great
Britain, Field Hockey
Like her wife, Richardson-Walsh will be
competing in her fourth Olympics. She has been captain of the team
since 2003 and was Great Britain’s Hockey Athlete of the Year in
Melissa Tancredi, Canada,
Nicknamed “Tanc,” Tancredi plays striker for the
Canadian national team. This will be her third Olympic competition
for Canada. She spoke on CTV Vancouver about the Canadian Olympic
Committee’s initiative to end LGBTQ discrimination in sports.
Susannah Townsend, Great Britain,
Townsend has been playing internationally since
the 2008 Olympics. In 2014, she was named the Hockey Writers' Club
Women's Player of the Year. She and girlfriend Dirkie Chamberlain
played against each other in several competitions.
Jeffrey Wammes, Netherlands,
Wammes has been competing since 2005. He won the
silver medal at the 2008 World Cup. This will be his first Olympics.
He came out in 2011.
Spencer Wilton, Great Britain,
Wilton won his first Dressage National Title in
1999. While he has won 13 national titles, Rio will be his first
Olympics. He was previously in a relationship with fellow equestrian
Katie Duncan, New Zealand,
Duncan has played in three World Cups and in the 2008
and 2012 Olympics. She married Priscilla Duncan in 2015.
Nadine Müller, Germany,
been competing since she was a teenager. She earned the silver medal
in the 2011 World Championship and the bronze medal in 2015. She also
competed in the 2012 Olympics. She married her wife on New Year’s
Eve in 2013.
Sunette Stella Viljoen, South
Viljoen came in fourth at the 2012 Olympics.
She came out publicly in 2014.
Marieke van der Wal, Netherlands,
Van der Wal is the goalkeeper for the Dutch national
team. She participated in the 2011 World Championships in Brazil and
will be returning to the country for the 2016 Olympics. She came out
earlier this year.
Kelly Griffin, United States,
Griffin won the bronze at the 2013 Rugby World Cup and
the silver in the 2015 Pan American Games. She credits her wife for
giving her a lot of support at home.
Mélanie Hénique, France,
was the bronze medalist at the 2011 World Championship for the 50
meter butterfly event. Hénique
is openly lesbian.
Jillion Potter, United States,
Potter participated in the World Cup in 2014. After
battling cancer, Potter focused on the 2016 Olympics. She credits her
wife, Carol Fabrizio, for never losing hope.
Júlia Vasconcelos, Brazil,
Vasconcelos has participated in 20 international
tournaments. She recently came out to Claudia Custodio on ESPN