Yesterday, the 2008 Summer Olympics came to a close in Beijing. While there were only a handful of lesbian, gay and bisexual (and no transgender) athletes competing – just 11 out of 10,708 – they brought home seven medals! Here’s a list of the winners:
Linda Bresonik, Soccer, Germany, Bronze
Vicky Galindo, Softball, USA, Silver
Gro Hammerseng, Handball, Norway, Gold
Natasha Kai, Soccer, USA, Gold
Lauren Lappin, Softball, USA, Silver
Matthew Mitcham, Diving, Australia, Gold
Katja Nyberg, Handball, Norway, Gold
The other four openly LGB athletes who competed were Judith Arndt (Germany, cycling), Imke Duplitzer (Germany, fencing), Rennae Stubbs (Australia, tennis) and Victoria Svensson (Sweden, soccer).
Despite the achievements of LGB athletes at the Beijing Olympics, NBC’s coverage was uneven when it came to telling their stories.
NBC did a solid job on their website, NBCOlympics.com, where they profiled several openly LGB athletes. An article on Gro Hammerseng discussed her role as captain of Norway’s handball team, while also talking about her partner and teammate, Katja Nyberg. Australian diver Matthew Mitcham was prominently featured on the site, which discussed both his orientation and the difficulty he faced in trying to bring his partner to China to watch him compete.
However, when it came time to broadcast the diving finals, watched by millions of people during prime time, NBC did not show or mention Mitcham’s family – namely, his partner and his mom. Given Mitcham’s unique story, and his amazing late-in-the-game victory (he scored four 10s in his final dive), NBC should have highlighted his partner and mom in the way that they’ve shown the families and stories of other medaling athletes.
GLAAD is reaching out to NBC to find out why they chose to leave out his partner and mother during the broadcast. Check back here for updates.
For more Olympics coverage from an LGBT perspective, please visit: