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How This Out Skeleton Racer Went From the Closet to His Olympic Dreams

How This Out Skeleton Racer Went From the Closet to His Olympic Dreams

Skeleton Racer Blaser Relies on Family to Live Olympic Dream

Andrew Blaser says he initially feared the reaction from his Mormon parents and siblings if he ever came out to them.

Out American skeleton racer Andrew Blaser fulfilled a lifelong goal by competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and he did so with the support of his family. In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, however, he revealed he initially feared the reaction from his Mormon parents and siblings if he ever came out to them.

"I was convinced that my family was gonna hate me when I was initially dealing with it, and then I got really good at kind of protecting myself from that situation that I was so afraid of," Blaser revealed.

Blaser, 32 said he had been comfortable with his identity among friends and colleagues, but coming out to his family was far harder, something he compared to competing in the national championships. According to his older sister, the process of acceptance wasn't always easy, but things are fine now.

"I want him to be fully himself and very comfortably himself in everything," older sister Lindsay, 38, said. "And I think we've gotten to that point, but it's not an easy thing for everyone."

His mother, Ellen, wasn't surprised and wondered at the time what had taken her son so long to come out. She initially struggled with acceptance but said the pair have grown much closer.

Ellen revealed that even as a child her son was focused on competing in the Olympics. At first, the family didn't take him too seriously, and mildly teased him. The teasing didn't last long, though, and soon turned into the support of his large family.

"It became very, very clear, fairly quickly that he really was going to dedicate himself to that, so then we all just got behind him," Blaser's mother, Ellen, told The Daily Beast.

Skeleton is a highly dangerous sport. Competitors hurtle headfirst down a twisting iced track at speeds of up to 80 m.p.h. on little more than a belly sled with rope handles. Blaser, a native of Boise, Idaho said the exhilarating mix of danger and athleticism and the intensity of the moment results in what he described as a "flow state" where his mind escapes his inner struggles.

"Skeleton allowed me that freedom for two minutes a day, those became the most valuable two minutes a day for me to get me through some stuff," Blaser said. "To help me get to a place that I was OK not being OK."

Blaser is clearly OK with his identity these days. He's proudly sporting rainbow colors when he competes, even in Beijing.

"It just felt right to put rainbow tape on and have a little bit more of, like, kind of expression of myself, my personality, and things that make me me, and to have that mean something to other people was unexpected," Blaser said.

Blaser finished 21st in the men's singles skeleton event last week in Beijing. You can watch his final run below.

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