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8 Aug 2008

11 out gay/bi athletes to watch at the Olympic Games

Only 11 of the 11,000 athletes at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games are known to be openly gay or bisexual - and of which only one is a gay man.

Of 10,708 athletes from a record number of 205 participating countries at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games which opens on Friday, only 11 are known to be openly gay or bisexual; of which only one is a gay man.

Outsports.com's Jim Buzinski, who initially counted five athletes but later amended the list to 11 after being alerted by readers who had written in, listed one gay man Australian Matthew Mitcham (diving), one female bisexual American Vicky Galindo (softball), and nine lesbians: Judith Arndt (Germany, cycling), Imke Duplitzer (Germany, fencing), Gro Hammerseng and Katja Nyberg (Norway, handball and a lesbian couple), Natasha Kai (US, soccer), Lauren Lappin (US, softball); Victoria "Vickan" Svensson (Sweden, soccer); Rennae Stubbs (Australia, tennis) and Linda Bresonik (Germany, soccer).

The most well known of the lot is undisputedly Mitcham who made a splash around the world for being the first openly gay Australian man to compete in the Games. On May 24, The Sydney Morning Herald broke the news of his being gay in "Out, proud and ready to go for gold."

The 20-year-old diver told a gay Sydney newspaper that he had not intended to come out and was just answering a question a question posed to him by the journalist.

He was quoted in SXNews as saying: "I came out years ago. All that happened recently was that I was doing an interview with the Herald and there was a pretty innocuous question, 'Who do I live with?' and I just said 'my partner Lachlan'. And the journalist was really excited - she thought it was absolutely wonderful!"

The former trampoline athlete is expected to have a serious shot at a medal in Beijing after winning gold in the 10m platform event at the 2008 Diving Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale, USA.

Australian women's tennis doubles player Rennae Stubbs
His compatriot women's tennis doubles player Rennae Stubbs, who's representing Australia at the Olympics for the fourth time, came out in The Age newspaper in 2001.

"I always say to my friends, 'Wouldn't it be great if everybody who was gay said they were? If we said: February 21, or whatever, this is the coming out day. So, if you are, you have to come out to everybody you know'. It would be phenomenal. And it would be nice if everybody could just accept that it's not a choice, this is who you are. You would never, ever choose this, choose to be gay. It's such a difficult thing to deal with and coming out to people and talking about it, and coming out to your family.

"But I don't hide who I am any more. Everyone in the tennis world pretty much knows who's gay and who's not; the only reason I would like it spoken about publicly more is that I wish everybody would realise that, 'See all those people you admire? Out of 10 of them, four are gay, and I just want you to know that your child can still idolise them'."

Buzinski, a former sports editor and co-founder of the Outsports web site, stressed that while there are possibly many more gay athletes at the Games, the list comprises only those who can be "determine(d) to be 'publicly out,' having discussed their sexuality openly in some manner."

He further cited various reasons why athletes are not openly gay from "the effects on performance, interaction with teammates, fans and the media, and, in some cases, endorsements."

"In addition, the vast majority of Olympic athletes are under 30, a time when even people who are not elite jocks are wrestling with their sexuality. Being an Olympic athlete requires full-time dedication and a lot of things get put on hold. It is just easier to hide and deal with one's sexuality later."

Matthew Mitcham on ABC News Australia

Judith Arndt (Germany)
Date of Birth: 23 JUL 1976
Gender: Female
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 130 lbs
Place of Birth: Knigs Wusterhausen (Germany)
Residence: Leipzig (Germany)
Sport: Cycling Road
Event(s): Women's Individual Time Trial | Women's Road Race
Official athlete bio

Linda Bresonik (Germany, soccer)
Date of Birth: 07 DEC 1983
Gender: Female
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 132 lbs
Place of Birth: Essen (Germany)
Residence: Essen (Germany)
Sport: Football
Event(s): Women
Official athlete bio

Imke Duplitzer (Germany)
Date of Birth: 28 JUL 1975
Gender: Female
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 154 lbs
Place of Birth: Karlsruhe (Germany)
Residence: Bonn (Germany)
Sport: Fencing
Event(s): Women's Individual Epee
Official athlete bio

Vicky Galindo (US)
Date of Birth: 22 DEC 1983
Gender: Female
Height: 5'4"
Weight: 130 lbs
Residence: Union City, CA (United States)
Sport: Softball
Event(s): Women's Team
Official athlete bio

Gro Hammerseng (Norway)
Date of Birth: 10 APR 1980
Gender: Female
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 159 lbs
Place of Birth: Gjvik (Norway)
Residence: Ikast (Denmark)
Sport: Handball
Event(s): Women
Official athlete bio

Natasha Kai (US, soccer)
Date of Birth: 22 MAY 1983
Gender: Female
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 146 lbs
Sport: Football
Event(s): Women
Official athlete bio

Lauren Lappin (US, softball)
Date of Birth: 26 JUN 1984
Gender: Female
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 161 lbs
Place of Birth: Anaheim, CA (United States)
Sport: Softball
Event(s): Women's Team
Official athlete bio

Matthew Mitcham (Australia)
Date of Birth: 02 MAR 1988
Gender: Male
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 148 lbs
Place of Birth: Brisbane (Australia)
Residence: Sydney (Australia)
Sport: Diving
Event(s): Men's 10m Platform | Men's 3m Springboard
Official athlete bio

Katja Nyberg (Norway)
Date of Birth: 24 AUG 1979
Gender: Female
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 170 lbs
Place of Birth: Helsinki (Finland)
Sport: Handball
Event(s): Women
Official athlete bio

Rennae Stubbs (Australia, tennis)
Date of Birth: 26 MAR 1971
Gender: Female
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 143 lbs
Place of Birth: Sydney (Australia)
Residence: Orlando, FL (United States)
Sport: Tennis
Event(s): Women's Doubles
Official athlete bio

Victoria "Vickan" Svensson (Sweden, soccer)
Date of Birth: 18 MAY 1977
Gender: Female
Height: 5'4"
Weight: 126 lbs
Place of Birth: Bors (Sweden)
Residence: Stockholm (Sweden)
Sport: Football
Event(s): Women
Official athlete bio

Reader's Comments

1. 2008-08-08 22:01  
Gro & Katja looks so cute together

2. 2008-08-08 22:25  
being bi is actually nothing special anymore - esp. in the western world...
3. 2008-08-08 22:26  
gay men cr*p at sports? *joking*

i'm sure there are plenty out of the over 10k athletes that are closeted. i have my fingers crossed Lars Riedel and Virgilijus Alekna are one of them!
4. 2008-08-09 00:28  
Lars Riedel is known to have had a LTR with a woman before... so, if anything, he wld be bi (like loads of others out there). Of course, if his ex broke his heart or was otherwise unkind, he may well change his preference to men again... In Germany, sexuality isn't a big deal really. For a sportsperson, the success counts: EuroChamps, WorldChamps, WorldCups and Olympia. There was a recent case here of a TS athlete (FTM) who came out and it was better after than before.
5. 2008-08-09 02:42  
Aww how sweet! I wish I could say that. "I'm 20 and I live with my partner". I'm stuck with parents for the time being and housemates at uni *random rant*

Good to hear there's a talented gay sportsman. Not to mention he's hot, bloody hell! Wishing him all the best in the Olypmics
6. 2008-08-09 08:25  
9/11 are women and an unusually high proportion are german. several visits to germany, and you reaslise that the women over there are often of a more masculine appearence- -attractively so.Hence,this statistic.
incidentally,the Chinese pianist Lang Lang (many pianists are gay men) is gay...no surprises there!
7. 2008-08-09 21:19  
i wonder what does a person's sexual orientation have to do with sport.
8. 2008-08-09 21:42  
he hot... i wouldnt say no
9. 2008-08-09 23:53  
Not surprising that the 'out' participants come from the most liberal countries in the world! Who said that sports and politics don't go together?!
10. 2008-08-09 23:57  
I wish i could be as open as them.. Life is like hell to be discreet like this!!
11. 2008-08-10 03:01  
Hi lostknight (post #7),

It may seems that a person's sexual orientation have nothing to do with sports. I suppose what the news editor of fridae means is that gay and lesbians can be prominent figures participating in moral or amoral events. This is to help some people to overcome personal inhibited homophobia and heterosexism.
12. 2008-08-10 04:33  
"And it would be nice if everybody could just accept that it's not a choice, this is who you are" ?!?!?! What a stupid comment.

I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeee being gay. Straight people have been noted as wishing they were gay because of the freedoms gay people have. Afterall, being straight isn't a bed of roses - constant questioning about when they will get married, have kids, blah blah blah.

13. 2008-08-10 04:36  
Do they win Gold, Silver, Bronze?

Or pink, salmon, and cream :-)

14. 2008-08-10 09:02  
aiiiiyah the men got no armpit hair yucks
15. 2008-08-10 09:56  
Go..go...Matthew Mitcham
Strike yours best in Beijing Olympic 2008 !
Be proud of yourself ... Hurray =)
16. 2008-08-10 20:23  
australia is always the BEST!!!
17. 2008-08-10 21:48  
It is great for them to say the "we are homosexual with pride and respect", to the world. I see that being Homosexual is not an important issue in this game because it is about sport. Yet it is good that they put a mark in the game stating that Homosexual is Real and is just human. We all are. Thank you.

18. 2008-08-10 22:07  
according to this link, there is at least one more gay man who was not identified in this article: Blyth Tait of New Zealand.

19. 2008-08-11 00:12  
This is utterly our best moments ^_^
20. 2008-08-11 00:51  
matthew will perform his Men's 3m Springboard Preliminary on 18, aug
21. 2008-08-11 09:00  
wishing Mr. Mitcham and the whole lot of queers like us the best of fortune in Beijing...may they take home lots of gold!! To our gay athletic brothers and sisters in Beijing, where-ever you come from, whether you are "out" or not, we wish you the ultimate success and we are PROUD OF YOU.
22. 2008-08-11 15:12  
whats wrong with being bi or closeted? focus on the sport!
23. 2008-08-11 17:32  
For quite a while now, Australia has issued postage stamps to honour our gold medal winning Olympic athletes. If he wins, he could well end up being licked by every gay boy in the country. haha
24. 2008-08-12 12:48  
It looks like Mitcham will be performing on Friday this week. Or does someone have better information? Whats wrong with bi or closeted...why should Gay people have to be closeted to compete. Focus on the sport, said lagunabro, but harder when you wanna be openly Gay but are forced to play Straight. Ok, if you are Straight acting, but who wants to act like someone else. Celebrate being Gay in Beijing or anywhere...if you can.
25. 2008-08-12 14:05  
Too bad! Not many of them are gay, I hope there are more; specially the gymnasts and the divers.
26. 2008-08-13 09:38  
If numbers may speak, the girls are a great deal more brave then.
27. 2008-08-13 15:00  
Go Rennae Go!
Go Germans Go!
What a country. To be able to live in a place where I can shout out to the world: "I am gay. I am an athlete. I am proud." Awww man....
28. 2008-08-13 16:15  
Apart from Matthew Mitcham, it seems that there is another strong gay connection to Australian diving. Melissa Wu, the schoolgirl who won silver in a synchronised diving event, evidently has gay parents. Two men were shown on the news tonight and both were described as "Melissa's father".

29. 2008-08-14 02:57  
As it was said before, sexual orientation isn't a big deal in Germany, nor is it in the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland and numerous other European countries. I guess, half of the female German soccer team are Lesbians and there are many others around, Gays or Lesbians . But, frankly, who cares, in a country where the mayors of Berlin and Hamburg as well as the leader of the main opposition party are openly gay.
Go Asians go!!! Go and fight for your rights as we have done in Europe for a long time.
Regards from (liberal?) Germany
30. 2008-08-14 09:30  
wow, no one discovered my future Candadian brother-in-law from Toronto yet? he is kicking ass in Beijing as I write this, the wedding date is in September . . . hmm maybe after the Olympics people want Mr. Perfect to know . . .
31. 2008-08-14 11:06  
matthew mitcham is a very cute guy! im proud that he is proud to come out and say he's gay!

more power and more gold medals for you!
32. 2008-08-14 17:12  
best wishes to Matthew, and to all the Aussie athletes at Beijing.

sweet and simple: "Yes, I am."
33. 2008-08-20 14:56  
i'm proud of all of them.
34. 2008-08-24 00:29  
So happy that Mitcham won a gold medal.
Congratulations to him! ^^
35. 2008-08-24 00:34  
Surely it is amazing for me, as a gay in a "LGBT-unfriendly" family and even society, to have heard of an experience of a openly-gay boy in a open-minded society. I admire, from heart, Matt as he has done a great job and succeded in both his profession and life.
36. 2008-08-24 04:27  
Congratulations to Matthew on winning gold at Beijing.

37. 2008-08-24 06:25  
Yay! Matthew just won gold for the 10m men\'s, preventing a complete sweep of 8 golds by the Chinese team. Simply incredible.

38. 2008-09-01 16:02  
which athletes should be models with this new l.a. agency: jackjockey.c0m? No lesbians there though - i just joined and can't see enough asians but i sure like the white guys and they do it man!
39. 2008-12-23 12:00  
How cool! Matt himself linked back to this story on Facebook!


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