Legendary out French ice dancer Guillaume Cizeron added Olympic gold to his resume at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing earlier today.
The four-time World Champion and five-time European Champion skated to the gold medal in the Ice Dancing competition with his longtime partner, Gabriella Papadakis.
Papadakis and Cizeron skated a near-flawless free dance performance and notched an overall record score of 226.98 in their dominating win. The pair had been expected to win gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, but a wardrobe malfunction for Papadakis caused a loss of concentration as the pair struggled to avoid a more revealing exposure.
The pair acknowledged the malfunction was on their minds not just on the ice in Beijing, but for the last four years since it occurred.
“I think it just fueled us,” Cizeron was quoted by Reuters. “It made us want that gold medal more than anything else. And I think we've never worked that hard for a specific goal.”
“We have been waiting for this,” an ecstatic Papadakis added. “This is the medal that we wanted.”
Cizeron’s gold medal is the second gold and second medal overall for out LGBTQ+ athletes in Beijing. Fittingly, the first LGBTQ+ gold this year went to one of the greatest Winter Olympians of all time regardless of sexuality. With her victory in the 1,500-meter speed skating race at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, out bisexual speed skater, Ireen Wüst became the first athlete in history to win individual gold medals in five straight Olympics. She now has six gold medals to her name.
“It’s really hard to describe,” Wüst said after the event. “A lot of emotions, especially the good ones. I don’t realize it yet. It’s insane, actually.”
The Olympic gold medal might be the height of Cizeron’s achievements on the ice so far, but in 2020, Cizeron wrote in Out how skating become far more than just a sport to him.
“I was lucky enough to find a space where I was able to express myself and feel included and supported. Figure skating wasn’t just a sport to me. The rink was the only place except home where I was lifted up and not torn down for my mannerisms. Skating brought me so much confidence and allowed me to discover myself in a safe environment. When I finally did get the courage to come out, I was fortunate enough to have a supportive family and to be born in a country where my existence wasn’t a crime.”