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  1. #1
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    Openly Gay Athletes

    Outsports lists 21 openly gay athletes. 3 of them are men, 18 are women.
    http://www.sbnation.com/london-olymp...es-open-london

    Huffington Post article has a slideshow with their pictures:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1710329.html

    There are 10,500 athletes competing. So even if we used the most conservative estimate, which puts the number of gay people in the general population at 4%, we end up with 420. Which shows there's still a very long way to go.

    Matthew Mitcham's (Australian Diver and 2008 Olympic Champion) story shows why so few athletes decide to come out, even if they come from nations where homosexuality is accepted for the most part.

    Despite winning the gold medal in great style, being hunky and handsome, Mitcham got zero endorsements following his victory.

    A straight guy in his position would surely attract loads of sponsorship deals.

    But he only got one endorsement from Telstra (a telecom company) a year after the games and then in the following year another from a swimsuit company. And that's it.

    So yeah, it pays off to remain in the closet.
    Last edited by Ziggy; 07-30-2012 at 08:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    So yeah, it pays off to remain in the closet.
    Which is exactly why it is so important for gay athletes to come out. There is strength in numbers.
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

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    [sorry double post, delete please]

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    Quote Originally Posted by skateboy View Post
    Which is exactly why it is so important for gay athletes to come out. There is strength in numbers.
    Definitely.

    But then I also understand why most would rather remain silent.

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    Just out of interest: how popular is diving in Australia? Athletes from sports that are on the telly once in four years always have a hard time finding sponsors.

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    Mark Tewksbury, chef de mission for Canada and former Olympic gold medalist in swimming, is also out, and has been since 1998.
    Haunting the Princess of Pink since 20/07/11...

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    There's a long history of openly gay female tennis players: Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Conchita Martinez, Amelie Mauresmo...

    Rennae Stubbs (AUS) is recently retired, but she is also openly gay. Here's an article about her: Rennae out of the closet and in your face.

    I think in tennis, at least, it's commonly known and players' partners are often present, but it's not something that huge publicity is made out of since it's not often that they are top-ranked players. I'm thinking of players like Elenii Daniilidou (GRE) and Jasmin Wohr (GER) who are mostly active in the ITF tour.

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    My ex played tennis internationally at the junior level and he spoke of terrible homophobia within the sport.

    Granted, that was 15 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    My ex played tennis internationally at the junior level and he spoke of terrible homophobia within the sport.

    Granted, that was 15 years ago.
    I'm sorry your ex had to go through that

    I was speaking of women's tennis...I think it's definitely less accepted in the men's.

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    He wasn't out back then.

    I don't remember his stories very well now but he spoke of the usual macho attitudes associated with sports, as well as the ostracism of those known to be gay (players and their parents being disgusted at the thought of having to be around Navratilova, etc.).

    So whilst nothing terrible really happened IIRC, listening to stuff like this whilst you're a teenager who hasn't yet come to terms with his own sexuality makes it even more difficult. :/

    The problem with sport in general is that it's associated with the macho model of masculinity. As masculinity becomes more inclusive, homophobia dwindles.

    Eric Anderson is a sociologist who wrote a lot about that (and experienced homophobia as an openly gay running coach). All of his articles are publicly accessible on his website, here:
    http://www.ericandersonphd.com/journal-articles.php

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    Quote Originally Posted by mazzy View Post
    Just out of interest: how popular is diving in Australia? Athletes from sports that are on the telly once in four years always have a hard time finding sponsors.
    No diver has ever received endorsements AFAIK; it's pretty much rowers and swimmers that get the endorsements in Australia. Sometimes triathletes, and a few cyclists now as well. I don't think it's because Mitcham is gay that he didn't get endorsements, I think it's that the sport isn't popular enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    ... I don't think it's because Mitcham is gay that he didn't get endorsements, I think it's that the sport isn't popular enough.
    Exactly what I was thinking. Besides sponsors want to get their money's worth, sponsoring someone who appeals to a much smaller slice of the population isn't a good investment unless you are actually targeting that slice.

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    Honestly, I find it hard to believe Mitcham got NO endorsements. I believe it, it says so right there, but I think if someone just said this to me that I would never in a million years take their word for it. That is mind boggling. He is one of the very few athletes from Beijing that I remember outside of gymnasts and Phelps. Then again, I am a gay male so I am sure he connected with me more so than other athletes. I just thought his story was great and being gay was only a small part of it. Too bad he couldn't capitalize on his success. I know they don't do this for money but its nice when they can take all those years of hard work and training and turn it into $$. They deserve it. I wonder if he was American or British (since they had the next Olympics) if he would have been able to capitalize better.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigB08822 View Post
    I wonder if he was American or British (since they had the next Olympics) if he would have been able to capitalize better.
    That depends, is diving popular in the US or the UK?

    Australia is a sporting nation, but in reality, very few of our Olympians get endorsements - especially long term ones. The Olympics is only once every four years, and we have sports all year round - cricketers, rugby players etc. get endorsements because they play often, and are always on the TV! Some, in particular swimmers or sometimes tennis players, get jobs through it instead (usually commentary). Unless they're competing regularly enough, and Australia knows that, there are other options for athletes.

    Alicia Camplin and Steve Bradbury (winter Olympic gold medalist) got very short term gigs, and that was only because they got gold, and it was unusual so made a big deal of.

    Often, if not always?, our gold medal winners get their faces on a postage stamp though

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    That depends, is diving popular in the US or the UK?
    two words

    Greg

    Louganis

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    No diver has ever received endorsements AFAIK; it's pretty much rowers and swimmers that get the endorsements in Australia. Sometimes triathletes, and a few cyclists now as well. I don't think it's because Mitcham is gay that he didn't get endorsements, I think it's that the sport isn't popular enough.
    Yes diving isn't popular but his victory was quite spectacular.

    Coming from way behind to get the highest single-dive score in Olympic history and win the gold medal.

    It was something that stood out and that many people would remember.

    Also, he's quite handsome and that's what sponsors want as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by berthesghost View Post
    two words

    Greg

    Louganis
    And who else? I can't name another diver. Diving is almost never show on national TV unless it's the Olympics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by berthesghost View Post
    two words

    Greg

    Louganis
    Did a quick survey of Aussie, American and British friends, and even gave them that he was an Olympian, and no one had a clue who he was. Couldn't come close to the sport...

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    Quote Originally Posted by berthesghost View Post
    two words

    Greg

    Louganis
    Who hasn't competed in more than 20 years. As others have noted, there aren't any current high-profile competitors.

    We'll see that happens if someone from a high profile sport comes out. I wish someone would do so, but I understand why athletes hesitate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    Did a quick survey of Aussie, American and British friends, and even gave them that he was an Olympian, and no one had a clue who he was. Couldn't come close to the sport...
    He only was on the cover of Newsweek and People and had a tv movie staring Mario Lopez made about his life. Do your clueless friends know who Dorothy hamil and Mary Lou reton are, since they're obviously the standard for all fame.
    No one since Greg has been famous in the us because, duh, Greg was the last one to win.

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