Belle Brockhoff came out as openly gay prior to the Sochi Olympic Games after Russia passed anti-gay laws. The snowboarder was one of only four out Winter Olympians and she was not afraid to speak her mind, saying that if she had the chance to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, "I'm willing to rip on his ass."
Brockhoff finished eighth in her event in Sochi after wiping out coming down the slopes (a common event in the wild sport of boardercross). She is now focused on the upcoming season and is reaching out to the crowd-funding site Dreamfuel to raise $5,000 towards her expenses. She explained why in an email to Outsports:
I came out before Sochi because I wanted to compete at the games as my honest and open self. I wanted to show the LGBT community in Russia that I am not afraid of these anti-gay laws and that they have my support. I also wanted to expose to the world more of what it is like to live in Russian as a gay citizen, what they go through and that things need to change there.
Snowboarding has been part of my life for the last 11 years and although its a lot of fun its also one of the most expensive sports in the world. Ive been blessed with parents who have been working quite hard to support me during over the years. Cost include at least $15,000-$20,000 a season, $1,200 for one race board (I use five), $2,500 for travel insurance, $3,000 for snowboard waxes, $50,000 for coaching over the season (coaching, accommodation, lift tickets, flights) and much more costs. Overall it can cost $80,000AUS-$100,000AUS per season ($75,000 to $95,000 US).
Brockhoff was virtually alone among LGBT Winter Olympians in speaking out against the Russian laws. You can thank her by contributing to her training.