The 2016 Olympic Games are fast approaching and this year a record number of LGBT athletes will be competing.
In August, a whopping 33 openly LGBT Olympians are set to take part in the summer event.
While we’d happily keep you here all day going through every athlete’s profile, here’s a list of the full 33 names along with a selection of just some of the inspiring athletes looking to score Gold this year.
Seimone Augustus – American Basketball Team
Brittney Grinrer – American Basketball Team
Angel McCoughtry – American Basketball Team
American Basketball player Angel McCoughtry is a 29-year-old LGBT athlete heading to the Olympics in Brazil this year.
She came out via an Instagram post in April 2015, explaining that she had experienced discrimination and even lost family because of it, but stated that love was a great feeling.
Angel helped her team win a Gold medal in the London 2012 Olympics – here she is playing in 2015.
Megan Rapinoe – American Football Team
Ashley Nee – American Kayaking Team
Larissa França – Brazilian Beach Volleyball Team
Segundo lugar ! Larissa e Talita conquistam o segundo lugar no GS Moscou, melhor para Walsh e Ross que vencem por 2×0. Próximo torneio será @swatchmajorseries Hamburgo daqui a 10 dias! ????FIVB #EquipeLarissaeTalita #vultcosmetica #timepetrobras #underarmour #tampico #radix #seelpa #exercitobrasileiro #BeacWorldTour #cbv #timebrasil @petrobras @underarmourbrasil
Larissa França qualified to represent Brazil’s beach volleyball team in the Rio 2016 Olympic games this year.
The athlete came out a month prior to her marriage to fellow teammate Liliane Maestrini in 2013, and her team won a Bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.
Here’s the lady herself in action.
Marie-Eve Nault – Canadian Football Team
Stephanie Labbé – Canadian Football Team
Melissa Tancredi – Canadian Football Team
Ian Matos – Brazilian Diving Team
Because we all love a good diver, here’s 27-year-old Ian Matos. The diver was the three metre champion of Brazil in 2013, and won Bronze during an event in the USA.
Matos was advised by a friend to stay closeted until after the Rio 2016 Olympic games but the stress of being unable to be himself was too much.
Check out Matos competing in the three metre synchronised diving in Toronto, 2015.
Mayass Pessoa – Brazilian Handball Team
Michelle Heyman – Australian Football Team
Katie Duncan – New Zealand’s Football Team
Robbie Manson – New Zealand’s Rowing Team
New Zealand’s LGBT Rower is 26-year-old Robbie Manson, who won Marlborough Sportsman of the year in 2013.
Coming out in 2014, Robbie highlighted the difficulties he found progressing through the sport whilst hiding his sexuality.
Here’s Robbie going solo and winning his Semi-Final for North Island Rowing Championships 2015.
Dutee Chand – Indian Track and Field Team
Caster Semenya – South African Track and Field Team
Jeffrey Wammes – Dutch Gymnastics Team
Dutch hunk Jeffrey Wammes is a gymnast who specialises in floor exercise and vault, and announced his sexuality in 2011 in an issue of Linda Magazine that focused on gay athletes.
The gymnast was not chosen for the 2012 Olympic games but managed to appeal, only to be unable to compete due to a fracture in his knee.
He seems to be performing just as well in recent years.
Charlien Dirkse van den Heuvel – Dutch Field Hockey Team
Maartje Paumen – Dutch Field Hockey Team
Edward Gal – Dutch Equestrian Team
Ari-Pekka Liukkonen – Finnish Swimming Team
Swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen won Bronze at the European championships in 2012 and competed in the London Olympics that same year.
Ari-Pekka says he came out to enable a broader discussion for LGBT athletes, following Russia’s anti-LGBT legislation controversy when Sochi was hosting the Winter Olympics.
Here’s the 27-year-old competing at the Finnish Open GP in 2013.
Nilla Fischer – Swedish Football Team
Lisa Dahlkvist – Swedish Football Team
Hedvig Lindahl – Swedish Football Team
Alexandra Lacrabère – French Handball Team
And the team with the most LGBT competitors is… Team GB!
Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh – GB Field Hockey Team
British hockey players Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh grew up together, won Olympic medals together, and married each other in 2013.
The couple earned Britain’s field hockey team it’s first medal in 20 years when they, along with their team, won Bronze at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Captain Kate talks about her and the team’s performance in the Valencia Hockey World League 2015 Semi-Final in the video below.
Carl Hester – GB Equestrian Team
Tom Bosworth – GB Race Walk Team
Nicola Adams – GB Boxing Team
Spencer Wilton – GB Equestrian Team
Tom Daley – GB Diving Team
And last, but by no means least, is British diving stud Tom Daley.
The 10 metre diving board specialist began competing from a young age winning countless medals throughout his career, including two Gold ones for England at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and a Bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics.
He made a splash in 2013 when he came out via a YouTube video and announced that he was dating another man – American screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.
You can see the video below.
Since then the 22-year-old diver has been training hard and competing like crazy in the lead up to Rio.
Here’s Daley and his 10 metre synchronised diving partner, Daniel Goodfellow, competing in the National Cup earlier this year.
Did we mention that Team GB has the most LGBT athletes in one team out of all the competing countries?
Words Hugh Sallows