There are only 16 days left before the midterms. Make a voting plan.

With a record number of out athletes at the Olympics this year, it’s clear that LGBTQ visibility has increased in the sports world. However, these wins have come from hard fought battles and brave visibility from athletes in the past.

As HRC celebrates and supports this year's out Olympians, we recognize that there are no openly transgender athletes competing in the Olympic Games in Rio.

While the 2016 Olympic Games soon come to a close, we cannot forget those who’ve paved the way for these athletes to live openly and authentically. These Olympians proudly spoke out about who they are, both on and off the field of competition, setting an example for LGBTQ youth and people around the globe.

Here are several out Olympians who made history:

Billie Jean King, former World Number 1 Tennis Player, won 39 Grand Slams during her tennis career. King fought for equality throughout her career. She was designated as part of the U.S. delegation to Sochi and was proud to be an openly gay delegate.

Greg Louganis won four gold medals for diving, two in 1984 and two in 1988, as he became the only male diver in Olympic history to sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympic Games. Louganis is openly gay and HIV-positive and has been a long-time supporter of HRC. We thank him for his activism for the LGBTQ community.

Belle Brockhoff, came out in 2013 ahead of the Olympic Games in Sochi. For fear of her safety, the Australian snowboarder did not speak out about Russia’s anti-LGBTQ laws during the Games.

Anastasia Bucsis competed as a speed skater for Team Canada during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2014 Sochi Olympics. She came out before the Sochi Games.

Daniela Iraschko competed as a ski jumper for the Australian team and took home a silver medal in the 2014 Sochi Games. She and her partner married in 2013.

Cheryl Maas, a Dutch snowboarder, married former snowboarder Stine Brun Kjedlaas and the couple have two children together. Maas competed in the 2006 Turin Olympics as well as the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Sanne van Kerkhof competed as a Dutch speed skater in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics. She was outspoken about Russia’s anti-LGBTQ legislation before the Sochi Olympics.

Ireen Wüst, also a Dutch speed skater, competed in three Olympic Games, including Sochi. She won two gold and three silver medals at the Sochi Games.

Barbara Jezeršek, a Slovenian cross-country skier, competed in 2010 and 2014. She was outspoken about conditions in Sochi as well.

Lisa Raymond has won 11 Grand Slam titles as a U.S. tennis player. She took home the bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics.

Judith Arndt is a German cyclist who has competed in five Olympic Games. She has earned two silver and one bronze medal in these Games.

Natalie Cook is a beach volleyball player and earned gold and bronze medals for Australia. She has competed in five Olympic Games and traveled to Rio as a member of the Athletic Services Team.

Abby Wambach is a two time Olympic gold medalist with the U.S. women’s soccer team. She came out in 2013.

Lori Lindsey came out in 2012, and played soccer for the U.S. Women’s National Team as an alternate in the 2012 Olympic Games and in the 2011 World Cup.

Don't miss a post

Sign up for RSS feeds

Have a news tip?

Share it with us

Community discussion

Read the guidelines