The Reason Gay Olympians Win More Than Straight Ones

By: Daniel Villarreal
8.8.2012

In modern Olympic history there have only been 104 openly gay and lesbian competitors, and 53 of them have won Olympic medals, according to Outsports co-founder Cyd Zeigler.

The London Games has 23 out athletes (with more coming out every day) and two of them have won medals—American tennis competitor Lisa Raymond and German bicyclist Judith Arndt—that means 10 percent of all gays in the Olympics are already carrying around large honkin' medals.

Naturally, there are more than just 23 LGBT competitors in the Olympics—many just haven't come out yet. And the small number of medals compare to the huge number of straight competitors makes the percentage of straight medal winners to overall competitors far smaller.

But we still gotta ask, what makes openly gay athletes so darned good?

Zeigler shares his thoughts:

"One reason for success of these athletes could be what we hear from out gay and lesbian athletes all the time: Once they come out publicly, such a burden is lifted from their shoulders that they are able to focus more on their sport. When your mind isn't busy figuring out how to keep a secret, it just leaves more room to perform."

"It could also be that the gay and lesbian athletes we know of are good at their sport because the high-level athletes are the only ones comfortable coming out. We don't know about the closeted kayaker or fencer who got eliminated in the first day of competition. Though, archer Karen Hultzer's coming out certainly defies that, as she was eliminated early in her competition."

So the next time you feel down because there aren't many openly gay athletes in the Olympics, just remember—the ones that are are pretty badass.

Tags: SPORTS
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