Olympics: Record number of LGBT athletes at Rio 2016


Story highlights

Rio 2016 has a record number of out athletes participating estimates close to 50 out athletes are participating in the Olympics

London 2012 had 23 out athletes participating

Rio de Janeiro CNN —  

It’s likely to prove one of Rio 2016’s most memorable moments and it has nothing to with the winning of medals.

While rugby player Isadora Cerullo didn’t secure a bronze, silver or gold medal, she won a partner for life after girlfriend Marjorie Enya, a volunteer at the 2016 Olympics, proposed to her in front of teammates, volunteers and media. Without hesitation Cerullo said yes and the Rio Games had it’s first marriage proposal.

It was also a proposal that highlighted a rising trend for the LGBT community – Rio 2016 has a record number of out athletes.

Human Rights campaign estimates that there are at least 41 openly lesbian, gay and bisexual Olympians – up from 23 that participated in London 2012 – though puts that number much higher at 49.

Rio 2016 also marked the first time a transgender model has been used at an Opening Ceremony after Brazilian model Lea T rode into the Maracana stadium pedaling the bicycle that carried Brazil’s name ahead of the host team marching out.

Olympian and WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne came out to Vogue just before the Olympics, while gold medalist Rafaela Silva followed suit on Brazilian media the day after her big win on home soil.

In an interview with Brazilian outlet Globo, judoka Silva says her girlfriend Thamara Cezar was instrumental in her golden success.

“She was there day in and day out and knew what I was going through, when I was tired, when I wasn’t. Anything I needed she was there on hand to do, so she is also very important in this achievement.”

Silva also says that Cezar takes care of their three dogs and most of the house chores.

Tom Daley, British diver who came out after the London 2012 Olympic Games, won a heartfelt message from his fiance Dustin Lance Black – an American Oscar-winning scrrenwriter – after capturing the bronze medal in Rio.

“So happy for you. So proud,” said Black, who won an Oscar for “Milk,” on Instagram.