The Advocate has profiled the five openly LGBT athletes will represent the LGBT community in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, all five athletes are women. After the 2012 London games, as many as 25 athletes were openly out. Athletes traveling to Russia, can feel more pressure to remain in the closet due to the strict anti-LGBT laws in Russia. The athletes include:
Belle Brockhoff, Australia, Snowboarding
"I want to be proud of who I am and be proud of all the work I've done to get into the Olympics and not have to deal with this law," Brockhoff said last year.
"It's the perfect opportunity to send a message," Brockhoff said."The Australian Olympic Committee has been really supportive and they want me to be safe. They don't recommend me waving a [rainbow] flag around which I won't do.
Anastasia Bucsis, Canada, Speed Skating
Anastasia has been openly out during the last winter games, but after the propaganda law passed in Russia she responded:
“I could never promote that message of concealing who you are with all of this going on in Russia. I’m kind of happy that I did it on my own terms,” said Bucsis.
Sanne Van Kerkhof, Netherlands, Speed Skating
A member of the Dutch team who will compete in the 3,000-meter relay in Sochi.
Barbara Jezeršek, Slovenia, Cross-Country Skiing
In the last games, Barbara competed in the 10-kilometer and 15-kilometer races, as well as the 4x5-kilometer relay. She will travel to Sochi a member of the Slovenia’s national team.
Ireen Wüst, Netherlands, Speed Skating
Speed skater who represented Netherlands and won a gold medal in the 2010.
"I’ve skated for a long time now, and I competed in the last two Winter Games, so I know what to expect and I know how to race," she said to the International Olympic Committee recently. "Everyone has their own way, but for me I need to find the balance between being really focused and being relaxed. If I’m too nervous, I won’t be able to achieve my goal as it affects my body. I have to be relaxed, but focused; that’s what I prepare for mentally."
Although the list is significanly shorter than during the last Olympic games, these athletes proudly represent the LGBT community in their journey for gold.