The Winter Olympic Games in Beijing are underway — and there are plenty of LGBTQ+ athletes competing for Olympic gold and glory.
While these elite Olympians are happy to compete as out athletes, their focus is winning for their teams and countries. Of course, one of the greatest Olympians of all time, Team Netherlands’ Ireen Wüst was the first out LGBTQ+ athlete to take home a medal at this year's Olympics, but plenty of other out athletes have also followed suit including a historic silver medal from out British curler Bruce Mouat.
Here are all the athletes who have won a medal at the Beijing Olympics!
Out bisexual speed skater Ireen Wüst (of Team Netherlands) won gold in the 1,500-meter speed skating race, making her the the first known out LGBTQ+ competitor at the Beijing Olympics to win a medal. But that wasn't the only hardware she took home these games. She also shared and won a bronze medal in the Women’s Team Pursuit event, making her medal count 2 this year!
“It’s really hard to describe,” Wüst said after winning gold. “A lot of emotions, especially the good ones. I don’t realize it yet. It’s insane, actually.”
Wüst, 35, who became the first athlete in history to win individual gold medals in five straight Olympics, says she plans on retiring, getting married to her girlfriend, and raising a family following the Beijing Games.
“I always say age is just a number,” she said. “But I’m 35, and I really want to have children, so at some point you have to quit.”
Photo by Jean Cotuffe/Getty Images
Four-time World Champion and five-time European Champion ice dancer Guillaume Cizeron skated to the gold medal in the Ice Dancing competition with his longtime partner, Gabriella Papadakis.
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.”
Photo by Ion Images/Getty Images
The Women’s Ice Hockey team from Canada took home the gold medal after defeating Team USA 3-2. Out Canadian players Brianne Jenner, Erin Ambrose, Emily Clark, Mélodie Daoust, Jamie Lee Rattray, Jill Saulnier, and Micah Zandee-Hart all shared in the victory.
Photo by Xavier Lane/Getty Images
Ronja Savolainen and Team Finland took home the bronze medal in Women’s Ice Hockey. This is the second consecutive Olympic bronze medal for the 24-year-old native of Helsinki, having won the bronze at the Pyeongchang Games in 2018.
Photo by @ronjasavolainen
Sandra Näslund took home the gold in the Women’s Ski Cross event. Ski Cross is a four-person race on a downhill course that also incorporates manmade jumps and turns. The Canadian women have dominated the event since it was first introduced in the Winter Olympics in 2010, winning every gold medal in the event…until Näslund captured gold in Beijing. While this is her first Olympic win, she’s taken home two World Championship gold medals in the sport in 2017 and 2021.
Photo by Picture Alliance/Getty Images
Before the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, Brittany Bowe made headlines for her selfless act of giving her spot on the U.S. team in the 500m event to teammate Erin Jackson after she had slipped on the ice and missed the cut. Jackson went on to win the gold in Beijing, but Bowe did not come home empty-handed after winning the bronze medal in the Women’s 1000m Speed Skating event.
Photo by BSR Agency/Getty Images
Bruce Mouat became the first out gay British athlete to win a Winter Olympics medal when he took home silver in the Men’s Curling event. Team Great Britain lost a heartbreaking, sudden death match for the gold to the team from Sweden, but Mouat did his best to remain upbeat following the match.
“I do feel pretty proud of myself,” Mouat was quoted by the Guardian after the match. “And I’m proud of my guys as well. I’m just still a bit raw. It’s just I don’t know how to describe it. But I’m sure down the line I’ll feel pretty good about this medal.”
Mouat had earlier netted the first victory for an out LGBTQ+ athlete at the Winter Olympics in Beijing with a 9-5 win in the Mixed Doubles Curling event. The victory came against the team from Sweden.