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Robert Dover was the first out gay Olympic athlete, in 1988

Robert Dover joins ‘Five Rings To Rule Them All’ with stories about meeting his husband and being out at the Olympics.

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Indiv Dressage Final Grand Prix Freestyle
Robert Dover won four Olympic medals as an athlete and one as a coach between 1984 and 2016.
Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

In 1988, at the height of the AIDS crisis, Robert Dover made Olympics history by blazing a trail for generations of gay athletes to come.

That was when Dover matter-of-factly told the public that he was gay. In our latest episode of the Five Rings To Rule Them All podcast, Dover talks about the day he stood in front of all of his fellow American Olympians and media reps and took a big step out of the closet.

“My thing was, ‘My name’s Robert Dover, I’m the token Jewish gay boy on the U.S. Olympic team, in the equestrian sport of dressage,’” he recounts on the podcast. “And people laughed, but I had a lot of press following me around. And the same with ‘92 and ‘96. I had a lot of press because... I was somebody who wasn’t afraid to talk about being openly gay in Olympic sport.”

Dover went on to compete in six different Olympics and win four Olympic medals as an athlete, then moving into coaching. This summer will be the first Summer Olympics since 1980 in which Dover isn’t involved in the Olympics, and he talks with me about why he’s putting the Olympics behind him.

On the podcast we also talk extensively about meeting his husband, Robert Ross, at a horse stable not long after he came out publicly. Ross was also in the sport of equestrian, and the two of them have built an apparel line inspired by their love of the sport of equestrian.

We also talked about Dover’s support for Mayor Pete Buttigieg for President. Dover and Ross are hosting a fundraising event with and for Buttigieg in Wellington, Fla., on Feb. 26.

Check out my latest episode of Five Rings To Rule Them All with Olympic legend Robert Dover, which you can play above. And be sure to subscribe on Apple’s Podcast page as well as on Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker, Castbox, Player FM and wherever you find Outsports podcasts.