The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics have officially drawn to a close after over two weeks of unforgettable action. Looking back on the Games, LGBTQ+ competitors had remarkable success, with fourteen known openly queer athletes emerging as medal winners.
Ten of these athletes took away coveted gold medals. In Figure Skating, Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund won the ski cross event, while France’s Guillaume Cizeron won the ice dance competition with partner Gabriela Papakis.
Canada’s victorious women’s Ice Hockey team boasted seven openly LGBTQ+ athletes – Brianne Jenner, Emily Clark, Erin Ambrose, Melodie Daoust, Jamie Lee Rattray, Jill Saulnier and Micah Zandee-Hart.
✨ gold medal moments ✨ pic.twitter.com/VEP9Pm7aSD
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) February 17, 2022
The most decorated LGBTQ+ Winter Olympian of all time, Ireen Wust, also added another medal to her collection, winning the 1500-meter speed skating sprint for the Netherlands. She is now the athlete with the third most amount of medals in Winter Olympics history.
There were two LGBTQ+ silver medal winners, the first being Great Britain’s Bruce Mouat who, alongside his team, came second in the curling final. In Ice hockey, Alex Carpenter and Team USA finished runners-up in the women’s competition.
Finally, there were three queer bronze medalists. Ireen Wust once again finished on the podium, this time in third place following the team pursuit event. Another speed skater, Brittany Bowe of the US collected her first individual Olympic medal in the women’s 1000-meter. Last but not least, Ronja Savolainen, a key member of Finland’s ice hockey team, finished in third place alongside her teammates.
Ireen! Wow ?⛸️
The Dutch speed skater has become the first Olympian to win an individual gold medal at 5️ different Winter Olympics!
She has also become the oldest Olympic Champion in any skating discipline, aged 35 and set an Olympic Record at #Beijing2022#StrongerTogether
— Olympics (@Olympics) February 18, 2022
With nine medals in total – four gold, two silver, and three bronze, Team LGBTQ+ would rank 12th in the medal standings.
There were further groundbreaking moments for queer athletes alongside the obvious podium successes.
American figure skater Timothy LeDuc made history by becoming the first non-binary competitor at the Winter Olympics, and marked the occasion by saying: “I hope people watching us feel like maybe there is space for them to come into figure skating. And for them to be able to celebrate what makes them unique and different.
“I know for me, people who are non-binary, it’s only possible because amazing queer people have come before me and laid the groundwork for me,” they added.
THAT WAS SO FUN!!! Let’s do it again tomorrow❤️❤️❤️
Officially Olympians! Thank you everyone for the endless support??#beijing2022 #olympics #winterolympics pic.twitter.com/kBVUz0OBwu
— Ashley Cain-Gribble (@icegirlash) February 18, 2022
There was a record number of at least 36 openly LGBTQ+ Olympians among the 2,871 taking part in Beijing. They competed across nine different sports, representing at least six different nations.
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