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At least 36 out LGBTQ athletes in Beijing Winter Olympics, a record

The number of out Winter Olympians is more than double that from four years ago as visibility grows. Here’s the list.

More out athletes are competing in Beijing than all of the previous Winter Olympics combined. Here, from left to right: Andrew Blaser, Brianne Jenner, Jason Brown, Sandra Naeslund and Belle Brockhoff.
Photo illustration by Shelby Weldon/Outsports with images from Getty Images

At least 36 publicly out gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, pansexual and non-binary athletes will be in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, double the amount who competed in 2018, including the largest share of men.

The athletes will compete in nine different sports from Feb. 4-20, including 12 in ice hockey and 10 in figure skating. Of the skaters, eight are men, one is non-binary and one is pansexual. The pansexual athlete, Amber Glenn, is an alternate and is currently not slated to compete. All of the out ice hockey players are women.

We did not have an out male Winter Olympian until the 2018 Games, when there were four out of the 15 total out athletes. In Beijing, there will be at least 11 men, almost one-third of the total. At the Tokyo Summer Games last year, the ratio of out women to men was 9 to 1.

Various countries have multiple out athletes we have been able to identify at these Games, including Canada (10), the United States (six), Great Britain (four), Sweden (three), Austria (2) France (two) and the Czech Republic (two).

This will be the second Winter Olympics after coming out for snowboarder Sarka Pancochova. She has been using her profile as an out Olympian to shine a light on the fight in her country — the Czech Republic — for marriage equality.

“It’s always an honor to be able to represent my country at the Olympics, and also represent the LGBTQ community and push for gay marriage in Czech Republic,” she said. “It has been on my mind constantly!”

Figure skater Lewis Gibson from Team Great Britain recognizes the power of being an out Olympian.

“It’s honestly a privilege to feel part of a community, and one that is pushing boundaries like no other,” Gibson said. “Every four years the numbers skyrocket up and up, and it’s so great to see and so great to be a part of. The Olympics are a legacy and being part of this group of people is that as well.”

Brazil’s Nicole Silveira is only recently out, telling Outsports that it has been a weight lifted off of her shoulders. Now representing her country and the LGBTQ community on the world stage as an out athlete has new meaning to her.

“Knowing that I can step on the big stage, the Olympics, as a known LGBTQ member, and be able to bring out more visibility and help athletes be who they want to be, brings me a lot of joy,” Silveira said. “I hope I can be that person that helps lift that weight off someone else’s shoulder.”

For American skeleton athlete Andrew Blaser, inspiring others is a big reason he is out.

“I think that the opportunity to represent the community at these games is amazing,” Blaser told Outsports. “I hope that my participation will help someone else realize that they have the opportunity to compete, and the ability to achieve any and all of their goals regardless of sexual orientation.”

To be included on the Outsports list of out LGBTQ Olympians, an athlete has to have come out publicly in the media, have to be clearly out on their public-facing social media, or have to have confirmed their identity directly with Outsports. For example, Italian pairs figure skater Filippo Ambrosini and Canadian ice hockey player Jill Saulnier confirmed to us that they identify as LGBTQ and are out.

If someone has not made a public declaration to the media that they are LGBTQ, they can still be included on this list if they are openly living their life as an out person on social media, particularly if they have made clear they are in a same-sex relationship.

We also work with LGBT historian Tony Scupham-Bilton, who runs the blog The Queerstory Files, to compile the most extensive list anywhere, and each athlete has a link below to some aspect of them being publicly out.

We know we likely have missed some out athletes, especially those who are non-Americans, as Outsports is based in the United States. If you know of an out LGBTQ athlete not on the list, or have any other inquiry, please contact us via email (outsports@gmail.com), or direct message us on Twitter (@outsports), Instagram (@outsports) or Facebook (OutsportsSBN).

Beijing Winter Olympic Games Out LGBTQ Athletes

Biathlon

Megan Bankes (Canada) #

Curling

Bruce Mouat (Great Britain)

Figure Skating

Filippo Ambrosini (Italy)
Kevin Aymoz (France)
Jason Brown (USA)
Guillaume Cizeron (France)
Lewis Gibson (Great Britain)
Amber Glenn (USA, reserve)
Timothy LeDuc (USA)
Paul Poirier (Canada)
Simon Proulx Sénécal (Armenia)
Eric Radford (Canada)

Ice Hockey

Brianne Jenner (Canada)
Erin Ambrose (Canada)
Ebba Berglund (Sweden)
Alex Carpenter (USA)
Emily Clark (Canada) #
Mélodie Daoust (Canada)
Anna Kjellbin (Sweden)
Aneta Lédlová (Czech Republic)
Jamie Lee Rattray (Canada)
Jill Saulnier (Canada)
Ronja Savolainen (Finland)
Micah Zandee-Hart (Canada)

Skeleton

Andrew Blaser (USA)
Kim Meylemans (Belgium)
Nicole Silveira (Brazil)

Ski Jumping

Daniela Iraschko-Stolz (Austria)

Skiing

Makayla Gerken Schofield (Great Britain)
Gus Kenworthy (Great Britain)
Sandra Naeslund (Sweden) #
Lara Wolf (Austria) #

Snowboarding

Belle Brockhoff (Australia)
Sarka Pancochova (Czech Republic)

Speedskating

Brittany Bowe (USA)
Ireen Wüst (Netherlands)

There will also be a number of publicly out coaches at these Olympic Games. At least four have athletes competing in figure skating: Adam Rippon, Brian Orser, Jorik Hendrikx and Romain Haguenauer.

This list was compiled by Outsports and LGBT historian Tony Scupham-Bilton.

# Athlete added since list was originally published Jan. 26, 2022