clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

No out LGBTI athletes chosen to be flag bearer for Olympic Parade of Nations in Rio

New, 1 comment

With a record number of out LGBTI athletes in the Rio Olympics, none have been selected as their nation's flag bearer. Caster Semenya carried South Africa's flag in 2012.

Matt King/Getty Images

If you're watching the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio Friday night, don't expect to see any out LGBTI athletes carrying their nation's flag. Of the 40-plus publicly out Olympians this year, not a single one was chosen to be a flag bearer in the parade of nations at the Opening Ceremony.

With over 200 nations represented in Opening Ceremony Friday night, chances are virtually guaranteed that there is at least one LGBTI athlete carrying their country's flag -- We the public simply don't know who they are. And given the number of athletes compared to the number of countries, it's not surprising to see an absence of out athletes selected; Only one in every 53 athletes is chosen to carry their nation's flag.

In 2012, Tonga selected swimmer Amini Fonua to be the country's flag bearer during the London Opening Ceremony. Fonua was not publicly out at the time, but has since come out as gay. He will be competing in the 100-meter breaststroke in Rio, but he was not selected as Tonga's flag bearer this year (not a surprise as athletes rarely or never do that in consecutive Olympics). Other LGBTI athletes who have been chosen as flag bearers include Caitlyn Jenner (1976, USA), Brian Orser (1988, Canada) and Caster Semenya (2012, South Africa).