- Victoria A. Brownworth
Frozen '22: The Lavender Tube on Winter Olympics, 'Euphoria' and 'SNL's Trend Queens
February 8, 2022 Bay Area Reporter
Speed skater Erin Jackson (Source: NBC Sports)
The Beijing Olympics 2022 are giving us such "how out of shape are we?" vibes while also being incredibly exciting. There we were at 4am watching the skiathlon, which has to be the most grueling thing we've ever witnessed. American Jesse Diggins came in sixth, which sounds like she was way behind, but there was a crush of five women together and all of them grew up in the Alps or Scandinavia except her, so it was a question of seconds of difference between medaling and not.
Diggins collapsed on the ground, chest heaving, mouth open, gasping like a fish out of water. Then she turned on her side and began vomiting. It was pretty scary to witness, but the commentators were bizarrely blasé about it. She was okay, but it certainly made it abundantly clear the level of exertion.
The event is 7.5 kilometers, so about five miles. It's literally up one hill and down another with some small amount of straightaway in-between. Not sure how anyone decides on this hellish workout when they could be inside with a little push broom doing curling, which is fabulous and which we find mesmerizing, but some people are gluttons for punishment.
Therese Johaug of Norway won that skiathlon competition and was a half-minute ahead of the next five women. She was like a super hero; way out in front, hot pink patches on her cheeks and nose to deflect the blinding sun and keep her skin from burning. What an incredible achievement.
Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy (Source:Instagram)
We enjoy the Summer Games and Tokyo was fun, but the winter games are endurance games of a sort the Greeks couldn't have imagined. Plus, while diving is exquisite, there is no summer event to possibly compare with the artistry that is ice skating and ice dancing. And Nathan Chen is (chef's kiss) our best. What a gorgeous, perfect skater. It's blissful to watch him.
The Winter Games are such a tribute to beautiful bodies in Lycra and sequins and tulle. These games are also queerer than any other Winter Olympics, with NBC reporting a record number of out athletes: 35.
We previously highlighted the first out nonbinary athlete, Timothy LeDuc, in our January 25, 2022 column.
In 2018, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and figure skater Adam Rippon made history as the first openly gay men to compete in the Winter Games for the U.S., but Rippon is coaching, not performing. Kenworthy is at Beijing, but on Team Great Britain.
Andrew Blaser will become the first openly gay man to compete in skeleton at the Olympics. He was the only American male skeleton athlete to earn a spot in Beijing and will be part of the smallest U.S. Olympic
Skeleton Olympian Andrew Blaser
(Source: Molly Choma/NBC Sports)
Skeleton team (three athletes) since the sport was reintroduced at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
Brittany Bowe is in her third consecutive Olympics for Team USA and she had the honor of holding the flag at the opening ceremonies, though NBC "forgot" to mention she's an out lesbian. Bowe, a long-track speed skater, won bronze in 2018.
Australian lesbian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff won her first world gold medal at the 2021 World Championships, so she is a medal contender in Beijing.
Outsports reports that the out LGBT+ athletes will compete in nine different sports from Feb. 4-20, noting there are "12 in ice hockey and 10 in figure skating. Of the skaters, eight are men,
Speed skater Brittany Bowe
one is non-binary and one is pansexual. The pansexual athlete, Amber Glenn, is an alternate and is currently not slated to compete. All of the out ice hockey players are women."
Among the skaters is Jason Brown, who competed in 2014 but missed the cut in 2018. Brown came out at Pride last year.
This is a far smaller number of out athletes (which we wrote about in our ) than at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which had a record 180 out competitors, but there are also fewer events and not as many team sports to lure in the lesbians who push up the numbers in soccer, basketball and volleyball.
According to NBC Sports, German runner Otto Peltzer is the first known gay Olympian. Peltzer ran at the 1928 Amsterdam and 1932 Los Angeles Olympics before he was arrested and imprisoned by the Nazis for "homosexual offenses" in 1935. Despite joining the Nazi party and the SS, Peltzer was imprisoned at Mauthausen concentration camp until it was liberated in 1945.
NBC Sports lists some other LGBTQ Olympic history on their website, along with listing some of the Beijing performers, including the gorgeous pairs ice dancer, Guillaume Cizeron of France and Eric Radford of Canada. In 2018, Radford became the first openly gay m
an to a gold medal at a Winter Games. He also won a bronze that year.