As we near the Winter Olympics next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea, more LGBT athletes are making the cut. Team Australia has officially added two more lesbians to its roster—snowboarder Belle Brockhoff and cross-country skier Barbara Jezersek both qualified to represent the country.
IM SO HAPPY!!! Incredibly honoured and excited to annouce that I'll be representing Australia for the second time at the Olympic Games next month!!! Thankyou to my family, friends, supporters & sponsors for believing in me every step of the way! I will be riding my heart out! ❤ pic.twitter.com/NOInrSP5ui
— Belle Brockhoff (@bellebrockhoff) January 24, 2018
Brockhoff came out as a lesbian in 2013, a year before competing in the Sochi Winter Games. At the time she was vocally critical of Russia’s anti-gay laws, telling BBC Sports, “I’m not afraid of these laws and I want others that live in Russia, who are homosexuals, to see that.”
She also was one of 27 athletes to sign a letter opposing Kazakhstan as a host nation for the 2022 Winter Olympics because of the country’s anti-LGBT policies.
After suffering a knee injury in December 2017, the 25-year-old was cleared for competition and secured her place just last week.
Jezersek, 31, competed for her homeland of Slovenia in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games, but the out lesbian became an Australian citizen in 2016. She qualified for her first Winter Games last week as a member of Team Australia.
— barbara jezeršek (@JezersekBarbara) January 24, 2018
A record eight out athletes are competing in the Pyeongchang Games, being held February 9 to 25: American figure skater Adam Rippon became the first out gay man to compete in a Winter Olympics.
He’s joined by American skier Gus Kenworthy, Canadian figure skater Eric Radford, Dutch snowboarder Cheryl Maas, Austrian ski jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, and Dutch speed skater Ireen Wust.