The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are starting and it looks like it will be the most queer Olympics of all time.
According to Outsports, more than 140 LGBTQ + athletes will compete in 26 sports, representing at least 25 countries. In total, eight times more openly queer female athletes will participate in the Olympics than men. The US has the largest number, sending more than 30 LGBTQ + athletes to Japan.
Unfortunately, several important people will be excluded from the competition – fans are sad that their favorite queer athlete, runner Shakari Richardson, was disqualified after being tested for doping. Also no longer participating will be transgender runner Sisi Telfer, who went down in history in 2019 as the first openly trans woman to win the NCAA Championship.
Still, dozens of American athletes will be added to the Olympics. For example, the favorite couple of Americans, football star Megan Rapinoe and basketball star Su Bird.
We will introduce you to some of them and briefly tell you about them:
Raven Sanders – shot put and discus throw
This will be Sanders’ second Olympics since finishing 5th at the 2016 Rio Games. She speaks openly about her identity. Sanders came out in her freshman year and said she would never be ashamed of her identity – a black queer woman. “People can say whatever they want to say, but I do not care, because I’m what I’m like!” she says. She spoke openly about her mental health and that she was suffering from suicidal thoughts. “I feel that the more I talk, the better my chances of reaching out to one, two or three people,” she said in an interview with one of the publications.
Chelsea Gray – Basketball
Chelsea Gray joins the U.S. team for the first time this year to help the women’s basketball team win its 7th gold medal. In 2016, she suffered a knee injury that made her future in basketball uncertain. At a press conference in June, Chelsea spoke about how she felt when she heard he shad won a place on the Olympic team: ” It was very emotional, I started crying. It took me a long time to get to this stage and my journey was not easy. ”
Gray recently signed with the Las Vegas Ace and also played for the Connecticut Sun at the Los Angeles Sparks, with whom she won the 2016 WNBA Championship.
In 2019, she married Typesa Moore, about whom she often posts on Instagram: “I will always choose you, I know what love is and it’s because of you” she wrote.
Kayla Mirikali – Wrestling
Kaila will be the first openly LGBTQ + wrestler to compete in the modern Olympics.
In an interview with Outsports, Kayla says she is proud to be an open lesbian.
Mirikal started wrestling at the age of 4 and competed with boys, thinking for a long time that even a dream of Olympic gold was superfluous. Women’s wrestling at the Olympics was added in 2004. The four-time national champion is now ready to compete in Tokyo. ” I am very grateful to those who always supported me! I can’t wait, I want to represent these people in Tokyo! ” – she writes.
Erika Bugardi – Heptathlon
In 2019, Erika Bugardi’s rainbow shoes caused a stir, which she wore while competing in the IAAF Athletics Championships in Qatar, where homosexuality is criminalized. Bugard then said she was just wearing her favorite shoes and was not trying to make a statement. However, she noted that she was not afraid of being fired – “I’m not afraid of the future, I feel safe.”
Bugard believes it is necessary to use her status as a sportswoman to support the LGBTQ + community. “I feel that we, the athletes, can make an impact because a lot of people are watching us. It’s necessary because people hate people because of who they love.”
In Tokyo, Bugard will compete in a seven-stage heptathlon.
Adriana French – Football
Goalkeeper Adriana French sets new records. French is the only player to have won the Women’s National League (NWSL) twice in 2017-2018.
In 2019, Adriana married Healthy Nutrition Consultant Emily Boscachi. That same year, she competed (and won) the World Women’s National Cup as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT).
Kristen Thomas – Rugby
Kristen Thomas started playing rugby in 2011 when she was a freshman at the University of Florida. Since then, she has competed in two American women’s competitions and the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
She had to miss the 2016 Olympics due to injury, but now she has left for Tokyo as a teammate of the US team.
“It’s really a dream. Especially after the last failure. It was a bit difficult to dream again, but I think I overcame it and at this point I’m excited to be given this opportunity,” she said.
Perry Benegas – BMX Freestyle
Perry Benegas became interested in BMX while riding with her brother and friends on a bicycle. She won a gold medal at the 2018 World Cup.
It will be the first year of BMX Freestyle as an Olympic event, and Benegas can’t wait to take part in it. “It is unthinkable just to know that our sport is recognized at such a level and gives people the opportunity to compete,” she said in 2018.
Benegas came out in May, via an Instagram post. ” All my life I have been looking for happiness. For the first time in my life, I’m very excited to be able to live freely and be myself with all my heart.”