Teal Cohen is one of the out LGBTQ rowers competing for Team USA at the Paris Olympics. | Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images

US Rowing will have at least six publicly out LGBTQ athletes competing at the Paris Summer Olympics, and they represent the full rainbow of the LGBTQ community. They make the U.S. women’s rowing team one of the most LGBTQ represented team at the Games.

Two out women will compete in the women’s eight: rower Regina Salmons and coxswain Nina Castagna. Two out rowers are set for the women’s quad sculls: Teal Cohen and Grace Joyce.

Alina Hagstrom is an alternate, as well as an operations manager at US Rowing.

The athletes range in identity including gay, queer, bi and pansexual. At least two of the athletes are bisexual or pansexual and currently in a heterosexual relationship. That includes Salmons, as well as Jessica Thoennes, who competed in Tokyo as an out bisexual woman and has since found love with a man.

Yes, bi people do end up in heterosexual relationships. That’s literally part of being bisexual. And any time someone can find love, Outsports is here for it.

Castagna said having a number of out LGBTQ teammates helps her get through the regimen of Olympic-level training and achieve her best.

“Our queer identities don’t necessarily impact our athletic performances, but our confidence and security in the training space definitely does,” Castagna told Outsports. “Having other out LGBTQ athletes (and great allies) on the team, that I can relate to and feel comfortable around, helps me to be my most authentic self and a better athlete as a result.”

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One of those great allies is Charlotte Buck, an American rower in the eight who helped the team to a silver medal at the 2023 World Championships. Buck is a strong advocate for LGBTQ athletes, including trans women in sports. It’s Buck who connected Outsports to these out American Olympians.

Cohen said that being an out and proud part of Team USA is important for her, and she recognized the importance for the push for LGBTQ inclusion in sports.

“Representation in sport is so important, specifically in women,” Cohen told Outsports. She grew up in Dallas and started rowing in 2013. She competed in rowing at the University of Washington, like some of her U.S. Rowing teammates. She won at least one national championship with the Huskies, in 2019.

“I want to be a role model to the next generation of athletes and use my platform to promote inclusiveness and diversity in sports.”

To her point, at the Tokyo Olympics women comprised of about 90% of the publicly out athletes competing in those Games.

So what will the next few weeks look like for these women? Lots of time for these women in the boat.

“We do a lot of training at a high volume, lower intensity level, but as we get closer to Paris the volume decreases and the intensity increases,” Cohen said. “We are all continuing to build boat speed and rhythm together in search of another second or two.”

In Tokyo, US Rowing had one out gay man — coxswain Julian Venonsky. At this point, Outsports can’t identify any men competing for the United States in Paris who are publicly out. However, Robbie Manson will represent New Zealand as an out gay man. Other out athletes in the sport include kiwi Emma Twigg and Germany’s Tabea Schendekehl (we’ll have a story on her soon).

At the Tokyo Games, no out Americans won a rowing medal. Can this team change that at the Paris Olympics? We hope so!

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