The Rainbow Olympics – Is this our most diverse games yet?

It’s hard not to feel patriotic as the hysteria around the Olympics continues to grow.

If you aren’t watching it, then you’re reading about it and if you’re lucky enough to have scored a ticket to Rio itself, then quite frankly I’m jealous.

Since the opening ceremony on Friday 5th August, we’ve been glued to our screens watching the athletes that have flown 5767 miles to take part in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Taking to our armchairs, we’ve become a nation of judges.

Scoring athletes as they leap, jump and dive for the coveted gold, silver and bronze medals.

Only last Monday night I found myself screaming: Too much splash as Tom Daily and Daniel Goodfellow donned their tiny trunks and trapeze their way through to a Bronze.

But as I witnessed the strength and power behind each diver (it’s hard not to notice their incredible back muscles), I quickly realised how far we’ve come in accepting gay men in sports.

To come out as an openly gay man should never be seen as an issue, but for far too long sexuality in the sporting industry has been a thing that people have preferred to keep under their lycra.

Cut to 2016 and we have possibly our most openly diverse Olympic games yet.

With a record number of 47 publicly out LGBTI athletes and coaches, we are finally reaching the level of acceptance that has been campaigned for.

At 22-years-old poster boy Tom Daily could be considered the leader of the pack, but surprisingly there are quite a few out and proud men doing it for the boys this year at Rio.

Whilst many will be admiring their firm physiques, you can’t help but admire their undoubtable talent and for that reason we appreciate 10 of the openly gay men fighting for gold this year.

We can only hope that some (unnamed) premiership footballers take note of these remarkable men.

  1. Tom Daley – GB Diver

After winning bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, Tom cemented his presence within the public eye. In 2013 Tom released a video that went viral confirming speculation that he was a gay man. Tom has since got engaged to Hollywood script writer Dustin Lance Black and celebrates his second Olympic bronze medal at Rio 2016.

  1. Tom Bosworth – GB Race Walker

At 26, the 20k race walker from Sevenoaks came out as gay in 2015 during a BBC interview. During the interview he confirmed that he was in a ‘really happy relationship,’ at the time.

  1. Carl Hester – GB Equestrian

Winning gold in the 2012 London Olympics for the dressage team, at 49 Carl is no stranger to the games. Ranking 12th in the world, Carl is openly gay and was previously linked with international dressage rider Spencer Wilton.

  1. Spencer Wilton – GB Equestrian

Born in 1973, Spencer was raised in Suffolk as a keen member of the local pony club. Spencer went on to win 13 national titles, before going on to compete in Rio.

  1. Robbie Manson – NZ Rower

In 2014 Robbie declared that he was ‘glad’ to be a gay man and is often seen sporting the rainbow flag increasing LGBT awareness in athletes.

  1. Hans Peter Minderhoud – Netherlands Equestrian

Hans won silver in team dressage at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. This year he is competing alongside his partner Edward Gal.

  1. Edward Gal – Netherlands Equestrian

The other half to long term partner Hans Peter Minderhoud, he’ll be part of the first Olympics pair having competed as a couple.

  1. Ari-Pekka Liukkonen – Finland Swimmer

Finnish swimmer Ari-Pekka came out in 2015 wanting to raise awareness for LGBT.

  1. Ian Matos – Brazil Diver

Famously advised not to come out until after competing in the Rio games, in 2014 Ian came out despite fears it would affect his career and goes on to represent his country this year.

  1. Jeffrey Wammes – Netherlands Gymnast

In 2011 Jeffrey came out amidst speculation in his sexuality. Suffering a knee injury before the London 2012 Olympics, Jeffrey is back hoping to win at the Rio 2016.

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