And in Paris, athletes will have the opportunity to speak out about injustices, including homophobia, transphobia and other issues facing the LGBTQ community in sports.
That was the latest message from Tony Estanguet, the Paris 2024 organizing committee president. It’s in sharp contrast to the decades-long mantra from the International Olympic Committee rejecting the idea of political or other commentary by athletes at the Games.
“There are plenty of opportunities for athletes, for associations, to use the platform of the Games to demonstrate that there (are) some situations (that are) not acceptable, that we have to evolve,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
Raven Saunders, the gay shot putter who won a silver medal in Tokyo, famously held her arms in an “X” on the medal podium as a demonstration for which she faced potential repercussions. Ultimately, sponsors and the USOPC supported her.
One of the ways Paris 2024 will be specifically supporting the LGBTQ community is through Pride House in Paris.
Pride House is an installation that has taken place at most Olympics since 2010, in addition to other events like the Commonwealth Games. It is designed to be a welcoming spot for LGBTQ fans and athletes. Plans for a Pride House are already underway for Los Angeles in 2028.
“We are very happy to participate in the Pride House project, which will be a place of exchange and celebration for LGBTI+ people and their allies in 2024,” Estanguet said in a statement from Paris 2024.
The Tokyo Summer Olympics two years ago smashed the previous record for publicly out athletes, as evidenced by Outsports’ groundbreaking list of out athletes, which reached 186 by the end of the Games.
How many out athletes will compete in Paris? It’s impossible to predict. However, the number has more than doubled every Summer Olympics since 2008. Seeing around 300 publicly out LGBTQ athletes in Paris is not out of the question.
Hosting the Games in Paris, with its rich gay history and recognition of same-sex marriages in France, could certainly help that number.