Out at the Olympics

Australia’s Matthew Mitcham, the only openly gay man at the Olympics this year

As regular readers most likely know, I’m not the biggest jock in the gay bunch (think four-eyed fey black turtleneck artist vs softball-slinging BDOC). But this year’s summer Olympics in Beijing have everyone in a tizzy, and I have to confess being slightly caught up in the melee.

That’s why I would like to point out two interesting articles on gay athletes currently in the field.

The first, by local Willamette Week writer Byron Beck highlights the only openly gay man currently at the games, Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, and asks whether a separate Gay Games is necessary.

While I agree with his conclusion in theory (i.e. “no, not really”) I also don’t think we’ve come so far in the sporting world that it is no longer a big deal to be out. Sure, soccer dykes may abound but can you name any out NBA player besides retired John Amaechi? The Gay Games might not quite be Olympic caliber but they celebrate gayness and sport, which I wouldn’t say is the game as usual.

I wouldn’t mess with Norway’s Katja Nyberg, would you?

But onto the ladies, of which there are many more! The number isn’t quite agreed upon, Outsports says 9 and AfterEllen says 10 (is this an argument over bisexuality? It’s not quite clear). But either way, the ladies are certainly out and about and happy for us to celebrate them.

As you may have expected, soccer and softball reign supreme as the dyke magnet sports with 2 out softball players (all American, thank you…) and 3 soccer stars (only 1 from the U.S., the others Germany and Sweden). Norwegian handballers are also a surprise entrance and the rest of Team Dyke is rounded out by an Aussie tennis player and a 2 more Germans, a fencer, and a cyclist.

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