Canadian figure skater Eric Radford became the first openly gay man to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games. He and his skating partner Meagan Duhamel took first place in the free skate programme at the Gangneung Ice Arena in South Korea.
The pair had a little help from Adele, whose song Hometown Glory was the music for their routine. “If you have the wrong piece of music and it doesn’t connect with the audience or the judges, it doesn’t really matter how great you skate, you’re gonna be missing something,” the 33-year old said.
Until South Korea, no athlete had previously participated in the Winter Games as an openly gay man (there are four this year).
Radford competed in the Games at Sochi, in Russia, and won a silver medal, but he wasn’t out at the time. He came out at the end of 2014 and got engaged to his boyfriend, Spanish ice dancer Luis Fenero, in June last year.
Other LGBT athletes are also making their mark in South Korea. Adam Rippon, 28, from the USA won a bronze in the team skating event in his Olympic debut.
Rippon earlier made headlines when he criticised Vice President Mike Pence as unsuitable to head up the American delegation to the Games due to the politician’s anti-LGBT views. Rippon also said he had no interest in meeting Pence.
Ireen Wüst, 31, the bisexual speed skater from the Netherlands, broke Olympic records when she added another two medals to her previous stash of eight medals (four golds, three silvers and one bronze). She won gold in the Women’s 1500m race and a bronze in the 3000m. This makes Wüst the most decorated Olympic speed skater of all time.
There are around 13 openly-queer contenders in the Games, up from seven at the 2014 Winter Olympic in Sochi. The Summer Olympic Games, which is a much larger event, sported 56 out Olympians in Rio in 2016.
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