LGBTQ

More Than 180 Openly LGBTQ+ Athletes in Tokyo – Their Biggest Moments

There are over 180 openly out athletes in Tokyo. Here are some of the biggest moments

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been historic for many reasons, but for the LGBTQ+ community, they have a special meaning.

There were at least 180 out athletes competing in Tokyo in nearly every sport, according to Outsports. That's three times more than the 56 openly out athletes at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Not only were there a record number of out athletes, but those athletes made some impressive feats during the Tokyo Games.

Team LGBT earned 11 gold, 12 silver and 9 bronze medals.

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Here are some of the highlights.

GOLD

Yulimar Rojas - Triple Jump - Venezuela

Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas not only won gold in the women's triple jump in Tokyo but she obliterated the world record that had stood since 1995 at 15.67m(about 51.4ft). Rojas won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Emma Twigg - Rowing - Women's Single Sculls - New Zealand

After placing fourth and just missing out on medals in both the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics, Emma Twigg blew past the competition to win gold in the women's single sculls rowing event and producing a new Olympic record in a time of 7:13.97.

Ana Marcela Cunha - Marathon Swim - Brazil

Brazil's Ana Marcela Cunha beat 2016 gold medalist Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands by less than one second to win gold in Tokyo. Cunha swam 10k(about 6.2 miles) in 1:59:30.8.

Thomas Daley - Synchronized Diving - 10m Platform - Great Britain

Tom Daley has been one of the darlings of these Olympics games. Not only did he and diving partner Matty Lee win a gold medal for Great Britain in the very scary looking 10m platform synchronized dive, he's gone viral for his knitting skills, making a pouch for his gold medal and a Team GBR cardigan.

Daley also won bronze in the individual men's 10m platform dive final, winning his fourth medal in his fourth Olympics. China's Yuan Cao and Jian Yang won gold and silver, respectively.

See the incredible precision of Daley and Lee's synchronized dive and Daley's bronze medla winning dive below.

Amandine Buchard- Judo - Mixed Team - France

Not only did Amandine Buchard help France win gold in the mixed team Judo event, she also won the silver medal in the women's 52kg(about 115 lbs), taking second to Japan's Uta Abe, after taking down Switzerland's Fabienne Kocher in the semifinal in an impressive 16 seconds.

Click below to see the finals match.

Click below to see Buchard's 16 second take down to move on to the gold medal match.

Stefanie Dolson - 3x3 Women's Basketball - USA

Stefanie Dolson, known in the U.S. as the center for WNBA's Chicago Sky helped Team USA score gold in 3x3 women's basketball at its Olympics debut after beating the Russian Olympic Committee 18-15.

Kelly Brazier, Gayle Broughton, Ruby Tui and Portia Woodman - Rugby Sevens - New Zealand

Forwards Ruby Tui and Portia Woodman as well as Back Gayle Broughton and substitute Brazier helped New Zealand's women's rugby seven's team bring home the gold. Four of the 12 members are LGBTQ, meaning that a third of the team is queer.

The team won silver in Rio against their Aussie neighbors.

The gold medal match below starts at 95:42

Kadeisha Buchanan, Stephanie Labbé, Erin McLeod, Quinn, Kailen Sheridan - Womens' Soccer(Football) - Canada

After back-to-back bronze medal finishes at Rio 2016 and London 2012, Canada has finally claimed Olympic gold.

For the first time in Olympic women's soccer history, the gold medal match went to penalties and it was close against silver medalist Sweden.

This win for Canada is historic as midfielder Quinn became the first trans/non-binary athlete to win an Olympic medal and it was gold.

See the nail-biting game below.

Sue Bird, Chelsea Gray, Brittney Griner, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi - Women's Basketball - USA

The U.S. women’s basketball team won its seventh straight gold medal on Saturday night, matching a record set by the U.S. men between 1936 and 1968. The final score over Japan was 90-75.

In winning a silver in its home Olympics, Japan takes home its first-ever medal in women’s basketball.

Out athlete Breanna Stewart had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Out athlete and Team USA flag bearer Sue Bird and teammate Diana Taurasi made history by becoming the first Olympic basketball players – male or female – to win five gold medals.

Bird became the oldest basketball medalist in history at age 40 and said the first thing she told her fiancée, Megan Rapinoe, after the game was “I’m so tired.”

Watch Team USA take gold in women's basketball below.

Alexandra Lacrabère, Amandine Leynaud - Women's Handball - France

After winning silver in Rio against Russia, the French women's handball team beat the ROC to take gold in Tokyo.

Russia who beat France 22-19 in Rio. This time, France collected a fairly comfortable 30-25 win in Tokyo.

The French men's team was also victorious, so both teams will be defending in Paris in 2024.

Watch the French women get revenge against the ROC in gold medal rematch below.

Kellie Harrington - Women's Lightweight Boxing - Ireland

Ireland's Kellie Harrington earned an emotional victory over Brazil's Beatriz Ferreira to score the top spot in the women's lightweight category.

In the end, though, it was Harrington who had earned the judges’ favor, edging out Ferreira on points across the cards to be named the new Olympic women’s lightweight boxing champion 5-0. 

SILVER

Raven Saunders - Track and Field - Shot Put - USA

Raven Saunders had one viral moment after another in Tokyo. Whether it was her two tone short-cropped hair, her dance moves after winning silver or holding her arms in an "X" message at the podium in solidarity with the Black and LGBTQ+ community, Saunders had an impressive time in Tokyo.

Saunders won silver in the women’s shot put, throwing the ball 19.79 meters(about 64.93 feet). She finished behind China’s Gong Lijiao who won gold with a 20.58 meters (67.5 feet) throw.

The Games weren't all celebration for Saunders, though. Her mother and "guardian angel" passed away after her silver medal win.

Hannah Roberts - Cycling - BMX Freestyle - USA

Hannah Roberts was the last rider to drop in the but she didn't disappoint. The American teen landed monster backflips to take the lead with a 96.10, but ultimately won silver to Britain's Charlotte Worthington who scored an impressive 97.50.

This was the first time that the event was held at the Olympics and all three of Team USA's female athletes in the sport are LGBTQ+. Perris Benegas just missed the podium with a fourth place finish. Trans BMXer Chelsea Wolfe was the reserve athlete for Team USA.

Erica Sullivan - Swimming - 1500m Freestyle - USA

Katie Ledecky may have beat an Olympic record in Tokyo in the 1500m freestyle swim, but Team USA's Erica Sullivan made the LGBTQ+ community proud with a silver medal finish just four seconds behind her American counterpart.

Watch the two Americans breeze past the competition below.

Ally Carda, Amanda Chidester, Taylor Edwards(alternate), Haylie McCleney - Women's Softball - USA

After a 13 year absence from the Games, softball is back in the Olympics and Team USA did not let us down, winning silver against host country Japan. The Americans were favored to win it all after beating Japan in the opening game, but the Japanese came back with a vengeance to win 2-0 in the gold medal match.

Center fielder Haylie McCleney scored a .529 batting average while in Tokyo.

However, Team USA will not be able to compete in 2024 as the IOC dropped softball for the Paris Games. Appeals have been made.

Watch the gold medal match below.

Nesthy Petecio - Boxing - Women’s Featherweight(54-57kg) - Philippines

Nesthy Petecio won silver after losing to Japan's Sena Irie. This was the inaugural women's featherweight boxing competition at the Olympics. 21 women participated in the event.

Petecio is one of three out LGBTQ+ from the Philippines, the most of any Asian country.

Watch the final bout of women's featherweight boxing below.

Jolanta Ogar - Sailing - Women’s 2-person Dinghy 470 - Poland

Out athlete Jolanta Ogar and her partner, Agnieszka Skrzypulec, won silver for Team Poland in the women’s two-person dinghy, finishing behind Great Britain.

This is Ogar’s third Olympic games. She represented Poland at the 2012 London games and raced for Austria at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she and her partner finished 12th.

Katarzyna Zillman - Rowing - Women’s Quadruple Scull - Poland

Katarzina Zillman helped her Polish team earn a silver medal in the women's quadruple sculls rowing event. Success in rowing comes down to technique and teamwork to gain the maximum speed and distance out of every stroke and the Polish women did not disappoint.

China beat a world record to win gold with a time of 6:05.13, the Polish women were only six second behind and Australia won bronze.

Watch the the silver medal row.

Astrid Guyart - Fencing- Women's Team Foil - France

Women's team foil was brought back in 2020 after skipping 2016 and even though she was a substitute for France and lost her round, she won silver with her teammates after losing to the Russian Olympic Committee.

Watch the Team foil finals below. The gold medal match starts at 87:40.

Magda Eriksson, Lina Hurtig, Hedvig Lindahl, Caroline Seger - Women's Soccer(Football) - Sweden

After winning silver in Rio, the Swedes were ready to tackle the gold medal match against Canada for the gold in Tokyo, but as fate would have it, the Canadians won in penalties, giving Sweden its second consecutive silver medal in soccer, or football depending on what part of the world you are in.

Four women in the Swedish team are LGBTQ+ as are five women in the Canadian team, making this the most queer match of the whole Olympics.

Ana Carolina, Carol Gattaz - Women's Indoor Volleyball - Brazil

The U.S. women's volleyball team beat Brazil in straight sets (25-21, 25-20, 25-14) to win its first-ever Olympic gold.

Watch some of the gold medal match highlights below.

Ramsey Angela - Track and Field - Men's 4x400 Relay - Netherlands

Ramsey Angela and his Dutch teammates won silver to Team USA's dominant gold.

Watch the relay finals below. The 4x400m relay race starts at 183:00.

BRONZE

Tierna Davidson, Adrianna Franch, Kelly O’Hara, Megan Rapinoe - Women's Soccer - USA

Team USA's women's soccer is legendary. They won gold medals at the 1996, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games, as well as a silver in Australia in 2000. Then a disappointing finish against 2020 silver medalist Sweden kept them off the podium in 2016.

The Americans were back in 2020, but they had a pretty rough start to their games after losing to, you guessed it Sweden 3-0.

The Americans regained their composure to get to the bronze medal game against Australia and beating them 4-3. Out superstar Megan Rapinoe scored two of the four goals in the match.

Lucilla Boari - Archery - Italy

Italian archer Lucilla Boari breezed past American Mackenzie Brown to win bronze in women's archery, after having placed seventh in the individual event and fourth in the team event in 2016. She is the first Italian archer to podium at the games. Korea won gold while the Russian Olympic Committee won silver in the individual event.

Boari also came out after her bronze medal win in Tokyo saying Dutch archer Sanne de Laat was her girlfriend.

See Boari's Hunger Games style feat below. The bronze medal match starts at 104:55.

Carl Hester - Equestrian - Team Dressage - Great Britain

Carl Hester is a legend in the equestrian sport of team dressage, having won gold in his home country in London and silver in Rio. He makes it a trifecta by winning bronze in Tokyo.

This is Hester's sixth Olympic Games, who at 54 is one of the oldest competitors in Tokyo.

Germany won gold and Team USA won silver.

Sanne van Dijke - Judo - Women's Individual 70kg - Netherlands

Sanne van Dijke from the Netherlands beat Germany's Giovanna Scoccimarro to win one of the two bronze medals in the women's 70kg weight class. Van Dijke is dating fellow Olympic judoka Natalie Powell of Great Britain.

Raz Hershko, Jasmin Grabowski, Judo - Mixed Team - Israel, Germany

Two out athletes won bronze medals in mixed team judo. Raz Hershko from Israel and Jasmin Grabowski from Germany helped their respective countries win bronze in the mixed team judo event in Tokyo.

This was the first time that mixed team judo was presented at the Olympics.

France won gold and Japan won silver.

Larissa Franklin, Joey Lye - Women's Softball - Canada

Canada beat Mexico 3-2 to win bronze in women's softball. The two North American teams were tied in the middle of the fifth inning but a run by the Canadians in the fifth secured their bronze as Mexico failed to score another run.

Softball will not be a part of the 2024 Games in Paris but appeals are being made to reverse that decision.

Watch the two North American teams battle it out for bronze below.

Sarah Jones, Susannah Townsend, Leah Wilkinson - Field Hockey - Great Britain

After winning gold in Rio in 2016, the Brits beat India 4-3 to win the bronze medal in field hockey.

Britain also won bronze in London 2012.

The two teams were even 3-3 at the start of the fourth quarter but then Britain scored a fourth goal to secure their bronze medal finish.

Teammates Sarah Jones and Leah Wilkinson are a couple.

Watch the tense game below.

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