Olympic athlete Alana Smith literally has their pronouns etched on their skateboard, but even that wasn’t enough to keep announcers from misgendering them.
Smith, a champion skateboarder who is nonbinary and bisexual, has been repeatedly misgendered by announcers at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, reports Gay Times U.K. It is the first Olympics for the 20-year-old from Texas, and the first Summer Games ever to include skateboarding as a sport.
— Maddie / Madds (@Maddie_Fett) July 26, 2021
Sadly, Smith was eliminated during the skateboarding preliminaries on Monday (July 26), when they failed to land four out of five tricks they attempted. But there is still plenty to celebrate: They are also the first openly nonbinary athlete to represent the United States at the Olympics.
Luckily, Smith appears to be riding the high of making history on an international stage.
“My goal coming into this was to be happy and be a visual representation for humans like me,” they wrote in an Instagram post after their elimination. “For the first time in my entire life, I’m proud of the person I’ve worked to become. I chose my happiness over medaling. Out of everything I’ve done, I wanted to walk out of this knowing I UNAPOLOGETICALLY was myself and was genuinely smiling. The feeling in my heart says I did that.”
Smith is far from the only out athlete in Tokyo right now. According to Outsports, a record-high 163 out athletes are competing in the 2020 Summer Games. That total is more than double the amount of openly LGBTQ+ Olympians who played in 2016.
They’re joined by fellow openly transgender Olympian Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand.