When the 2016 Summer Olympics begin this weekend in Rio, Brazil, a record 42 of those Olympians will be out lesbian, gay, bisexual, and intersex athletes. There are currently no out transgender competitors. And surprisingly few are competing for team USA.
The United States is sending just seven out competitors, none of whom are men. According to Outsports, which researches out athletes with the help of Olympic and LGBT historian Tony Scupham-Bilton, those athletes are:
Seimone Augustus (USA, basketball)
Kelly Griffin (USA, rugby)
Brittney Griner (USA, basketball)
Angel McCoughtry (USA, basketball)
Ashley Nee (USA, kayak whitewater slalom)
Jillion Potter (USA, rugby)
Megan Rapinoe (USA, soccer)
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Team LGBTQ USA is also represented on the women’s soccer team, with head coach Jill Ellis.
Outsports notes that it’s odd no out male athletes are representing the United States. Of course, this doesn’t mean gay and bisexual men aren’t competing. Outsports knows of at least one gay male athlete competing who isn’t out and says that more could come out as the games unfold.
Brazil is not known for being particularly LGBTQ friendly. However, team Brazil has four out athletes competing, including diver Ian Matos. And the Brazilian equestrian team is coached by a man who may be the oldest LGBTQ person at the games this year. Historian Scupham-Bilton notes:
George Morris is trainer to the Brazilian Olympic equestrian team (his partner is Brazilian). They call him the ‘Godfather of American Equestrianism.’ He came out officially earlier this year in his autobiography at the age of 78, even though he states he was never ‘in.’ His Olympic involvement goes way back to 1956. He won a silver medal in Rome 1960. He was Chef d’Equipe for many years, and he’s probably the oldest LGBT person involved in the sporting events.
Check out the full list of out Olympic athletes here. Who are you cheering on?