Kirsty Gilmour competes in a match in Hong Kong in September. | Photo by Yu Chun Christopher Wong/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Image

Name: Kirsty Gilmour
Country: Great Britain
Sport: Badminton
Previous Olympic experience: Rio 2016, Tokyo 2021
Social Media: Instagram

Who is Kirsty Gilmour

Kirsty Gilmour is arguably the best out LGBTQ badminton player in the history of the sport. Currently ranked 22nd in the Badminton World Federation World Rankings in women’s singles, Gilmour holds numerous BWF tournament wins in both singles and doubles competition, multiple Commonwealth Games medals, four European Games silver medals and two previous Olympic appearances.

No stranger to breaking new ground, she became the first Scottish woman to reach the singles finals in Commonwealth Games history in 2014.

She scored a similar point when she came out publicly in 2021, becoming one of the few out LGBTQ players in professional badminton. Yet she rejected the moniker of “trailblazer” in doing so, telling France 24, “It’s nice that we live in a world where it’s such a non-point, but there’s still a long way to go.”

Kirsty Gilmour at the Paris Summer Olympics

Despite her collection of accolades, Olympic success has eluded Gilmour. She failed to advance out of the group stage in both of her previous Olympic appearances, but Gilmour enters Paris with a renewed focus on playing looser.

“I’m better at managing that last-minute cramming session at the very end of preparation. I’m learning to be a bit more calm in the build-up rather than getting infinitely more stressed out,” Gilmour shared in a Team Great Britain blog. “I’ve seen enough times how the forward thinking and the spiraling is useless. To have that trust in myself and all the years of training that have gone into this preparation period. I’m really trying to enjoy it, that’s a factor.

“With the first one, you want to squeeze everything out of it. Tokyo was a bit strange circumstances so for this one, I’m just trying to be super confident in all my preparations to be able to play with some freedom and a relatively relaxed outlook.”

The world will find out if a calmer, more in-tune with herself Gilmour can make her first run past the women’s singles group stage in just over a month.