Eric Radford: Olympic figure skater & gay
Eric Radford has an Olympic silver medal in figure skating. Now he aims for a gold medal in 2018 - with his skating partner Meagan Duhamel - as an openly gay man with his "gay family" at home.
There have been 204 current and former Olympians to come out publicly or be outed as LGBTI, according to a new list released today by Tony Scupham-Bilton. He has been researching LGBTI Olympians for years and passed the 200 mark for the first time in the last 10 days, thanks in part to a couple Canadian Olympians coming out publicly last week. You can see the entire list, including medals won, years participated and sport affiliation, here.
Scupham-Bilton writes at length about his exhaustive list, but one part is particularly interesting about the earliest known LGBTI Olympian:
You may question some of the names on my list. It depends on your definition of an Olympian. First and foremost, all the listed names are those who have been named as a playing member of the official national teams. Most people regard Olympians as athletes, but one name on the list - the first openly lgbt Olympian and first lgbt medallist - wasn't an athlete at all, she was a sculptor.
A hundred years ago the Olympic Games included contests for art, music, literature, architecture, and even town planning. They had equal status with the sport. The only criteria for submission was that the entry must have a sporting theme. Even today the medallists of these contests are included in official statistics.
The first lgbt Olympian was Renée Sintenis (1888-1965). I intend to write about her next year so will concentrate briefly on her Olympic involvement for now. Renée specialised in sculpture of human figures and animals. One of her pre-Olympic works was a sculpture of the legendary Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi. This eventually (1932) won her the Olympia Prize. The piece she submitted for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics was a bronze statue of a footballer called, not surprisingly, "Footballeur". For this she won a bronze medal.
Another interesting piece is that Robert Dover, the American equestrian athlete, has competed in the most Olympics - six - which is also the same number of Paralympics by Jen Armbruster of goalball.
Thanks to Scupham-Bilton for all of his work. Be sure to head over to his blog, Queerstory FilesLGBT Olympians , for more background on his work. The list is certainly inspirational!