With the attention Russia’s anti-gay laws received members of the media around the world had to be waiting to type ‘First Openly Gay Athlete Wins Gold.’
Thanks to Dutch speed skater Ireen Wust they can.
Her winning comes as no surprise, but was really just a matter of time. After having won gold in Vancouver and in Turin she was expected to do so in Sochi as well. What may be surprising to some is that she did not take advantage of the spotlight to promote gay rights in a country that suppresses them.
Using the winner’s podium to do so has never been her way. During an interview back in 2010 she had this to say:
“I want to talk about ice skating”, Wust said back in 2010. “You are not asking (fellow Dutch speedskater) Sven Kramer about how his relationship is going. So why would you ask me? If I would’ve had a relationship with a guy, you wouldn’t have asked me either.”
Wust is only one of seven openly gay athletes in Sochi, but she does not want to be viewed in the context of her sexuality. Instead–and like every other athlete at the Olympics–she wants to be recognized as a representative of her country and her sport. Winning gold certainly goes a long way to representing both in the best way possible.