Anja Pärson is a retired Swedish Alpine skier. A three-time Olympian, Pärson bagged six medals between the 2002, 2006, and 2010 Olympic games. She officially came out in 2012 while being interviewed on a radio program, divulging that she and her partner, Filippa Rådin, had been together for five years.
Pärson has dropped accusations at the International Olympic Committee of being “out of touch” with LGBTQ+ issues and accusing it of not standing up for gay rights during the Sochi Olympics.
Six foot five-inch Ebrar Karakurt is a Turkish volleyball player. Making the grade to be part of the Turkish Olympic Volleyball team came with some vicious attacks.
After coming out on her social media and posting images of her girlfriend, Karakurt endured months of criticism from prominent Turkish figures, including her relationship being labeled as “scandalous” by one popular newspaper. Her teammates and coach rallied around her and pushed back against the attacks with equal force.
Vervoort was a Belgian wheelchair sprinter. Developing a medical condition in her early adolescence was an almost impossible obstacle for Vervoort’s career. But she overcame every hurdle she faced.
Marieke bagged gold and at the 2012 London Paralympics and went on to win silver and bronze at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Vervoort passed away peacefully in 2019 after achieving things many can only dream of.
Johnny Weir Johnny
Weir is somewhat of a sports celebrity. A Pennsylvanian native, he has had a highly decorated career as an American figure skater and two-time Olympian. He only came out officially close to retirement. He details this in his 2011 autobiography, recalling being hesitant to embrace his sexuality after being told by a talent agent that it would harm his burgeoning skating career.
Weir stirred some controversy in the LGBTQ+ community when he was contracted to be a commentator for the Sochi Olympics.
Forty-year-old Robert Newton is a retired hurdler that competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Even though Newton was Britain’s number one hurdler at the time, he was unsuccessful in qualifying for the second round.
Openly gay, he recalled the conversation with his manager about coming out publically. His manager told him that people would either love him or hate him for doing this. Newton felt he had to be a role model and went ahead with the decision to come out.