Get sporty! 2014 was a big year for LGBT inclusion in sports.

2014 has witnessed some of the biggest advances in LGBT inclusion in sports. The National Football League, National Basketball Association, Womens National Basketball Association, World Wrestling Entertainment, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and the Ladies Professional Golf Association all have openly LGBT players. The oppression of LGBT people in Russia highlighted the reality of LGBT Olympic athletes. Athletes have been coming out in high school, college, and professional sports around the world.

The WNBA created a new campaign to celebrate diversity, pride, and equality in sports, hosting a series of Pride games. Outsports profiled the first openly gay MLB umpire, Dale Scott. The MLB also appointed openly gay former player Billy Bean as a consultant for LGBT inclusion, a role he will use to create a more supportive environment by educating and training players and staff. California passed the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB1266) to ensure that California schools allow transgender students to participate in all school activities and athletics according to their gender identity. Recently, Minnesota followed suit, passing a policy that will allow all high school students equal opportunity in athletics and fine arts according to their gender identity.

The Sochi Winter Olympics:

The  Winter Olympic Games in Sochi were eclipsed by Russia's "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors" law, which led to rampant discrimination, hate-crimes, and protests. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) attempted to reassure LGBT advocates, sponsors, athletes, and spectators that advocates, media, and participants in the games would be safe, but didn't condemn the anti-propaganda law. US Olympic Committee sponsors, such as AT+T and Chobani publicly stood by LGBT Russians. Despite the climate, there were some out gay athletes, including bisexual speed skater Ireen Wüst who took home six medals, including the gold in the 3,000-meter competition.

In September, the IOC announced that, starting in 2022, host cities must adhere to pledge to Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter, which stands against any form of discrimination on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender, or otherwise. More recently, IOC President Thomas Bach announced 40 recommendations to "lay the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement," including adding "sexual orientation" to the Olympic non-discrimination policy. The recommendation was adopted by the full IOC.

Russian Open Games:

The Russian LGBT Sports Federation held the Russian Open Games, which ran right after the Olympic Games ended, with the "goal of promoting healthy lifestyles, physical activity and sports among the LGBT community and its supporters." The February 26th opening was marred by a bomb threat, as well as negative responses such as hostels refusing to check guests in and restaurants refusing service. At a basketball event, black smoke filled the gymnasium, reportedly perpetrated by Russian police forces, and a swimming event was canceled due to bomb threats.

Michael Sam:

Texas native Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams on May 10, making him the first openly gay player ever to be drafted by the NFL. Unfortunately, he was later cut by St. Louis and later waived by the Dallas Cowboys. In the words of GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, "That an accomplished player like Sam, who performed strongly in the preseason, was not picked up sooner is a testament to both how far we have left to go as a culture and how far the NFL has to go as an organization." Nevertheless, Sam continues to speak out for the LGBT community. At the 2014 ESPYs presented by ESPN, he accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage with tears in his eyes, repeating the words of Arthur Ashe, "Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can." Michael Sam has done exactly that. In the words of GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, "Michael Sam continues to change the game… He is a trailblazer and an inspiration, but, above all else, he is a great football player." This year, Sam was honored as one of GQ's men of the year.

The World Cup:

At the start of the 2014 World Cup, GLAAD called on FIFA to proactively address anti-LGBT slurs, which has been common in FIFA stadiums around the world. GLAAD took action against the use of this dehumanizing language with the #stoptheslurs campaign, a social media movement that encouraged fans to be aware of the impact of their words. GLAAD also released video PSAs in English and Spanish to raise awareness about anti-LGBT slurs in the games. Along with the videos, GLAAD's president Sarah Kate Ellis released an open letter to FIFA, calling on them to do more to educate fans about the power of anti-gay attitudes.

The Gay Games:

The Gay Games took place in Ohio in August. Over 8,000 athletes representing over 50 countries and 48 US states were in attendance, many coming from countries where being LGBT is not only difficult, but illegal. Scholarships were made available for attendance, and GLAAD spoke with South African recipient Hlengiwe Buthelezi about LGBT advocacy through sports. Another major story coming out of the Games was that of Ida Keeling, a 99 year old sprinter who set a record for her age category.

While 2014 has seen many positive developments for LGBT people in sports, the guiding principles of the Gay Games demonstrate why the event exists, and what we need to keep striving for: participation, inclusion, and personal best.