To celebrate its 45th anniversary this year, The Advocate has named one hero for every year the publication has been around. In a powerful statement about the importance of sports in our movement, three athletes are included in the list. Figure skater Rudy Galindo, one of the very few male athletes who came out during his career, was named their hero of 2000. While he came out in 1996, they chose him four years later because of his HIV revelation that year.
Former NFL player David Kopay represents 1976, the year he gave an interview to The Advocate. He had come out the previous year, becoming the first athlete from one of the big four sports leagues to come out after retiring. Tennis legend Billie Jean King represents 1981, the year she held a press conference to announce she is a lesbian.
Again, it's a powerful statement for the Advocate to name three athletes to their list. Galindo was an inspired choice; While higher-profile athletes have come out, he did so while he was still competing in his sport (winning a national title as an openly gay man).