‘Team LGBTQ’ earns 32 medals at Tokyo Olympics

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8/8/21

As the torch goes out at Japan National Stadium in Meiji-Jingu Park, the end has arrived for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games— dubbed “the rainbow Olympics” by some for the record number of LGBTQ competitors. At least 182 out athletes from approximately 30 nations attended the Tokyo Games, more than three times the number of out athletes who competed in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, according to LGBTQ sports site Outsports. Of those athletes, who competed in some 35 different sports, at least 55 medaled — five nabbed gold for Team USA women’s basketball alone. In fact, if the LGBTQ Olympians competed as their own country — affectionately labeled “Team LGBTQ” by Outsports — they would rank 11th in the total medal count (right behind France and before Canada), with 32 team and individual medals: 11 gold, 12 silver and nine bronze. Gold medalists include Brazilian swimmer Ana Marcela Cunha for the 10km event; French martial artist Amandine Buchard for mixed team judo; Venezuelan track and fielder Yulimar Rojas for the triple jump; Irish boxer Kellie Harrington; New Zealand rower Emma Twigg; United States women’s national basketball team members Sue Bird, Chelsea Gray, Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart and Dianna Taurasi; American 3×3 basketball player Stefanie Dolson; Canadian women’s soccer team members Quinn, Kadeisha Buchanan, Erin McLeod, Kailen Sheridan and Stephanie Labbe; French handball players Amandine Leynaud and Alexandra Lacrabère; New Zealand rugby players Gayle Broughton, Ruby Tui, Kelly Brazier and Portia Woodman; and, of course, British diver Tom Daley, who finally took home the gold for synchronized diving at his fourth Games. “I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion,” Daley, 2, told reporters after he and diving partner Matty Lee scored a winning 471.81 on the 10m platform. “When I was younger I didn’t think I’d ever achieve anything because of who I was. To be an Olympic champion now just shows that you can achieve anything.” But Daley’s victory — complete with images of him knitting a tiny cozy for his medal — was just one of many queer stories to come out of the Games. After earning silver for the Philippines, featherweight boxer Nesthy Petecio told reporters, “I am proud to be part of the LGBTQ community,” according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “Let’s go, fight!” she added. “This fight is also for the LGBTQ community.”

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