After postponing the 2020 Olympic games, many athletes were forced to the sidelines. Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, events and social gatherings were paused as more people were infected. But as the 2021 games draw near, we are getting to know some of the faces competing for their countries.
According to a report by Outsports, the number of LGBTQ+ athletes is more than have participated at all other Summer Games combined. More than 140 athletes who are publicly out as LGBTQ+ are headed to the Olympics, beginning one week from today. This makes this year’s Games the most inclusive in history.
Overall, there are eight times more openly queer women athletes than men. While the US tops the list with 34 athletes, Canada brings 16 of their LGBTQ+ competitors. Next is the UK with 15, and the Netherlands with 13.
Both New Zealand and Australia are bringing nine athletes. Not to mention, Brazil will have eight openly LGBTQ+ Olympians.
Among the sport competitors are the first transgender hopeful medalists. Of this group, they represent 25 different countries.
Some are competing as openly LGBTQ+ for the first time, after participating in previous events without acknowledging their sexual orientation or gender expression.
However, with just four days to go until the opening ceremony, the COVID-19 pandemic is proving a concern for the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Officials have reported at least 12 new coronavirus cases connected with the Games since Sunday. Several US athletes are among the growing virus cluster.
Polling shows a significant portion of Japan's population supports canceling the Games. Meanwhile, fans are prohibited from attending as spectators amid a nationwide state of emergency.
The Olympics opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday, while Team USA is slated to start Olympic play on July 25 against France.