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24 Jan 2022

Just how queer will the Beijing Winter Olympics be?

We're potentially going to see a record number of LGBTQ athletes competing.

The out medallist will represent Team GB in the men’s freestyle halfpipe – a discipline of skiing that sees competitors perform a series of tricks while going down the pipe.
The 2022 Winter Olympics will be Kenworthy’s third Olympic appearance, but it’s his first time competing for Team GB.
Kenworthy, who was born in Essex to an English mother and American father, previously represented the US in the 2014 and 2018 games. He announced in 2019 that he would be leaving the US Olympic team to join Team GB for the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
He now joins a “record number” of openly LGBT+ athletes heading to the Beijing games, Outsports reported. The 2018 Winter Olympics featured 15 out queer athletes, and Outsports said the upcoming games will see more openly LGBT+ athletes than before.
There was a question as to whether Kenworthy would be able to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics, which kick off in February.
Just weeks ago, Kenworthy shared in an Instagram post that he recently got a “bad concussion” while at a training camp in Switzerland.
He explained that he’s had a “few serious” traumatic brain injuries in the past so the “seriousness of each added concussion has been stressed to me”.
After he recovered, Kenworthy suffered another setback after he tested positive for COVID-19.
“Despite being fully vaccinated I had caught a breakthrough case,” Kenworthy wrote. “I checked into a hotel and did a 10-day self-isolated quarantine until I tested negative and was cleared to fly home.”
Kenworthy said he also had “ongoing issues with my head” which left him “very light-headed, disoriented and nauseous” after he worked out or got his heart rate up.
He was “incredibly frustrated” with his ongoing health issues as the Olympics games were growing closer, but he said he was “trying to stay positive and hopeful that this will pass”.
And it seems that Kenworthy’s patience has been rewarded as he’s been given the go-ahead to compete in the Olympic games.
Gus Kenworthy also recently confirmed that he will retire after he finishes competing at the X Games, which end on Sunday (23 January), and the Beijing Olympics.

Just how queer will the Winter Olympics in Beijing be?

Early indicastions are that it's an event that's going to be pretty gay.

Obviously, there's lots of different measures by which you could assess whether one Winter Olympics is queerer than another. One of the easies indicators that we've got is the number of competing athletes that have publicly discussed their sexuality and have publicly identified as being part of the LGBTQ community.

According to the available reporting, the 2018 Winter Olympics featured 15 LGBTQ athletes. Will there be more than that competing at Beijing? It's looking likely.

Names to look out for include high-profile athletes such as Gus Kenworthy, plus there's going to a lot of queer action on the ice - at least 7 figure skaters identify as LGBTQ. Then there's plenty fo women who will be hitting the snow hard - including Belle Brockhoff. And don't forget Ireen Wüst - she's already the most decorated Olympic speedskater and she's heading to her 5th Olympics.

Team LGBTQ looks set to win gold at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

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