There are a record 15 out LGBTQ athletes at the 2018 Winter Olympics, including two men in the high-profile sport of figure skating, so it would make sense that we would see more rainbow pride flags than at any other Games.
We have seen flags at five venues in and around Pyeongchang — the Opening Ceremony, men’s figure skating, men’s slopestyle skiing, cross-country skiing and men’s two-man bobsled. They may have been others at other venues but this is all I’ve come across so far.
Ian Rodriguez, an X-ray technician from Las Vegas, came to the Games with his husband specifically to cheer on openly gay athletes and has brought a pride flag with him. It made an appearance at the Opening Ceremony.
So blessed to be able to go to my first #Olympics. Proud to support @teamusa, especially @guskenworthy, @adaripp, and @brittanybowe. Can’t wait to see your events. ️ #PrideFlag #TeamUSgAy Category is #OpeningCeremony realness! @rupaulofficial #Pyeongchang2018 @olympics @theellenshow @pridehouse @glaad @humanrightscampaign
We next saw the rainbow at the free skate for Adam Rippon. One was waved by slopestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, as captured by friend of Outsports Nick McCarvel working the Games for NBC.
Pride flags - one held by @guskenworthy - were unfurled as an emotional Adam Rippon salutes the crowd. Beautiful skate #PyeongChang2018 @Adaripp pic.twitter.com/opuisNpJwq— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) February 17, 2018
A national TV audience saw Matt Wilkas hold up a rainbow flag as he cheered on his boyfriend Gus Kenworthy in the slopestyle. Also in the photo are Gus’ mom and friends:
The oddest sighting of a rainbow flag — this one combined with the state flag of California — came at the two-man bobsled, spotted by OIympic historian Tony Scupham-Bilton:
The fans were there to cheer on American’s Hakeem Abdul-Saboor and pilot Nick Cunningham. The announcers noted that Cunningham is from California, which would explain the California part of the flag. As for the rainbow, who knows? Maybe the fan is LGBT or it was the only California flag he could find. There are no out male bobsledders.
Pride House in Pyeongchang found a rainbow flag at cross-country skiing, another sport with no out LGBTQ athletes. Gay sports fans are everywhere!
알펜시아경기장에 무지개가 떴습니다!!!!!! #rainbowflag #pridehouse #Pyeongchang2018 #CrossCountrySkiing pic.twitter.com/fofDuHbgXO— Pride House PyeongChang (@PrideHouseKr) February 18, 2018
Check out Pride House Korea’s Twitter feed and Pride House International’s Instagram account for more rainbow fun.
Correction: In the first version my headline read “2108” instead of “2018.” I corrected that and also certainly hope that being out at an Olympics is a non-story in 90 years.