Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff has publicly come out ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Like many athletes before her, Brockhoff, 20, dreams of competing in the Games. Building off the success she had at Montafon in Austria, she’s considered a major medal contender. That is, if she doesn’t run into any issues with the Russian government’s anti-gay laws.
"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 tells Australia’s ABC TV.
Her announcement comes one day after American actor, Wentworth Miller, announced he is gay and blasted the country for its attitude towards the LGBTQ community. Miller declined an invitation to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival.
Unlike Miller, Brockhoff still has plans to head to Russia. However, Brockhoff admits she is scared, and she would be a fool not to be.
“I have a feeling that I would have to kinda go back into the closet a little bit because I don't want to risk my, like, you know, safety, being arrested or deported," she says. Like many out athletes who are vying for a spot in the competition, she wants “to be able to compete and live my dream and become an Olympian.”
The snowboarder has also considered wearing a rainbow patch during the games in protest but does not want it to jeopardize her ability to compete. Just by coming out, she is being brave. And we look forward to seeing her proudly competing in 2014.