LGB Athletes Win Big in Beijing, but NBC Coverage Misses the Mark

August 25, 2008
Photo Credit: GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images

Photo Credit: GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images

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.

I’m not the only one who noticed that NBC missed the mark here. Yahoo Sports, Think Progress, Sporting News and other outlets are questioning NBC’s glaring omission.

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:

After Elton: http://www.afterelton.com/people/2008/8/matthewmitcham

After Ellen: http://www.afterellen.com/sports/2008/8/olympic-medalists

Outsports: http://outsports.com/olympics2008/

365Gay: http://www.365gay.com/ent_sports/