23 Openly Gay London Olympians

Dutch Field HockeyThere were 23 Openly Gay Athletes at the 2012 London Olympic Games, including four from the Netherlands’ Gold Medal winning Field Hockey Team. That is less than 1% of the reported 10,820 athletes that were competing at the games. It’s estimated that 3.8% of adults in the United States are gay, so it seems reasonable to assume that the number of athletes in the closet at the Olympics far exceeded those who are out.

Why is this relevant now? The 2014 Olympic Winter Games are set to be held in Sochi, Russia, which has laws against homosexuality. That is currently the biggest story leading up to the games, and is causing some to call for boycotts or protests. Obviously exclusion is not part of the Olympic spirit, so hopefully pressure that is being applied now will lead to changes before the games begin.

We’ve put together this collection of the 23 gay athletes from the London Games, to put a face to the discrimination. You’ll notice that the names come from relatively few countries that compete in the Summer Games. Noticeably absent from that group is Russia. You’ll also notice the general lack of Men on this list… for whom a stigma still surrounds when coming out as athletes, even in the United States

1. Natalie Cook — Australia

Natalie Cook

2. Matthew Mitcham — Australia

Matthew Mitcham

3. Mayssa Pessoa — Brazil

Mayssa Pessoa

4. Rikke Skov — Denmark

Rikke Skov

5. Jessica Harrison — France

Jessica Harrison

6. Alexandra Lacrabére — France

Alexandra Lacrabere

7. Carole Péon — France

Carole Peon

8. Judith Arndt — Germany

Judith Arndt

9. Imke Duplitzer — Germany

Imke Duplitzer

10. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg — Germany

Ina Yoko Teutenberg

11. Carl Hester — Great Britain

Carl Hester

12. Marilyn Agliotti — Netherlands

Marilyn Agliotti

13. Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel — NED

Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel

14. Edward Gal — Netherlands

Edward Gal

15. Kim Lammers — Netherlands

Kim Lammers

16. Maartje Paumen — Netherlands

Maartje Paumen

17. Karen Hultzer — South Africa

Karen Hultzer

18. Lisa Dahlkvist — Sweden

Lisa Dahlkvist

19. Jessica Landström — Sweden

Jessica Landstrom

20. Hedvig Lindahl — Sweden

Hedvig Lindahl

21. Seimone Augustus — USA

Seimone Augustus

22. Megan Rapinoe — USA

Megan Rapinoe

23. Lisa Raymond — USA

Lisa Raymond