Category Archive : Sports

USA Softball settles for silver, Canada takes bronze, with 5 out medalists

The USA Softball team dropped a close one to Japan 2-0 in the Olympics gold medal game. | Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA/AFP via Getty Images

After giving up two runs in the middle of the game, USA Softball couldn’t find their late inning magic against Japan. The USA Softball Women’s National Team had to “settle” for the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, losing to Japan 2-0 in the gold medal game.
This marks the second consecutive time Japan has defeated USA Softball for the gold, with the last occurrence at the 2008 Games in Beijing. In between, softball had been dropped as an Olympic event.
After walking off Japan on a Kelsey Stewart home run to complete a perfect 5-0 run in the round robin group stage, the United States was unable to find any more magic against Japan starter Yukiko Ueno, suffering their first shut out of the tournament.
Ally Carda entered a scoreless game in the third following a sterling pitching effort in the group stage game with Japan. After escaping a jam that inning, she ended up taking the loss, giving up a two-out RBI single to Yamato Fujita in the fourth that proved to be the medal-winning run.
Japan extended its lead to 2-0 with another Fujita two-out RBI hit, this time off of Monica Abbott in relief.

Photo by KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA/AFP via Getty Images
USA Softball’s Jannet Reed robs Yamato Fujita of a home run with an astonishing leaping catch in the gold medal game.

USA Softball had its best chance to get back in the game in the sixth, putting runners on first and second with one out and Games 2 and 4 hero Amanda Chidester at the plate.
Unfortunately, Chidester couldn’t come through with one more moment as she lined into a tough-luck double play to snuff out the rally.
While USA Softball ultimately fell short of their goal, it was still an amazing run through the tournament. US pitching only gave up four total runs and they displayed remarkable clutch hitting in every group stage game.
Plus Chidester, Carda, and Hayley McCleney repeatedly stepped up in the spotlight and represented Team LGBTQ with pride. Let’s hope that USA Softball gets a chance to complete a run for the gold if the sport returns to the Olympics in 2028.
In the bronze medal match, Canada beat Mexico, 3-2, adding another medal for Team LGBTQ with Joey Lye and Larissa Franklin both publicly out on the Canadian softball team. Chidester’s fiancée, Anissa Urtez, barely missed out on a medal with Mexico. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Out rider Carl Hester completes his Olympic medal trifecta with a bronze in Tokyo

Carl Hester won a bronze medal for Great Britain in team dressage at the Tokyo Olympics, his third Olympic medal. | Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images for British Olympic Association

The dressage rider for Great Britain had previously won Olympic gold and silver. Carl Hester won a bronze medal in team dressage at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, his third Olympic medal overall.
The gay dressage rider for Great Britain completed his Olympic medal trifecta with the bronze, having earned gold in the 2012 Games and then silver in Rio. His horse this time around is a 12-year-old gelding named En Vogue.
“That was cool,” Hester said of his ride. “I had a great balance with En Vogue, and I feel he came here as a boy and he went in there like a man. It still feels like he is one of the best horses you could ever sit on. He is amazing.”
The other riders for Great Britain were Charlotte Fry and Charlotte Dujardin.
It’s the sixth Olympic Games for Hester, who at 54 is one of the oldest competitors at the Tokyo Olympics.
Other out LGBTQ riders also did very well. Catherine Dufour placed fourth with Denmark, and husbands Edward Gal and Has Peter Minderhoud finished fifth with Netherlands.
While the United States won a silver medal, reserve rider Nick Wagman did not compete. Wagman’s horse, Don John, sustained a minor injury after arriving in Tokyo, and unfortunately Wagman never got the chance to ride.
Germany won the team dressage gold. Outsports – All Posts Read More

What Tom Daley’s gold medal means to this gay man

The taste of gold for Tom Daley. | Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Watching Tom Daley grow into his authentic self inspired me at a time when I was still trying to find a way toward mine. Seeing him win Olympic gold brought out all my emotions in the best way. In the moment when Tom Daley and Matty Lee saw that they had clinched an Olympic gold medal and Tom leaped into Matty’s arms in an ecstatic “life goal fulfilled” embrace, I started crying.
Which wouldn’t typically be noteworthy for an Olympic feel-good moment. Except I was watching it on DVR. Twelve hours later. And I’d already seen the spoiler that they’d won when I woke up that morning.
Usually, for a sporting event from the past to make me weep, it has to begin with “This is gonna be a tough play…Bryant…” and end with 108 years worth of demons being vanquished.
But like the Chicago Cubs, I feel an especially strong emotional connection to Tom Daley’s athletic career. Which might sound flippant at first glance but to anyone who knows me, that’s about as profound a comparison as I can make.

13 years4 Olympics1 gold medal This photo is everything ❤#bbcolympics #tokyo2020— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 26, 2021

When Daley came out in December 2013, I was 34 years old and just starting the process of getting comfortable with being gay. I’d known who I really was for a couple decades but at that point, I’d only started to consciously accept and acknowledge it to myself for less than a year. And actually telling anyone about it seemed like it’d take at least another decade’s worth of courage to work up.
The best way I could describe where I was in the coming out process was the “reading Huffpost Queer Voices and wishing that someday I could maybe be that open about myself” phase. One day while doing so, I stumbled upon a headline that said something like “Olympic British diver comes out in emotional video.”
You had me at “clickbait.”
It was the first time I’d ever seen Tom Daley and at that time, I didn’t know anything at all about his life as a diving wünderkind. But what I saw was someone awkwardly and nervously attempting to allow himself to be vulnerable as he struggled to find the right words to reveal he was attracted to men.
I couldn’t relate to anything about his life except that last part. But it was the single most important thing I could possibly relate to.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that he had the kind of face that made you want to watch his vlog while holding up a boombox playing “In Your Eyes.” Which is what inspired me to look up more of his videos online. I’m not made of stone.

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
I mean…

While watching his YouTube channel, I also recalled the many years where I’d check out pictures of attractive men online while at the same time refusing to let myself consciously acknowledge the obvious reason for doing so. The closet is a weird and uncomfortable place but its grip can also be frustratingly powerful.
As I viewed Daley’s vlogs, I realized this was the first time I was seeking out videos of a stunningly beautiful gay man while being just barely honest enough with myself to acknowledge that I found him attractive. There’s a lot of caveats in that sentence but believe me, this was a big step toward living my own truth.
So I kept coming back to Daley’s vlog week after week. As I saw him grow into becoming true to his authentic self and letting us see him as a gay man living proudly and enthusiastically, I realized an important distinction.
I had known for a while that at some point I would have to come out and acknowledge who I really was. But seeing Daley as an example of someone who was so free and happy, I began to understand that not only was I gay, but for the first time in my life, I wanted to be gay.
Even though Daley exists in a celebrity world and is someone I’ve never met, by helping me toward that epiphany, he ended up playing a significant role in my journey. I’m forever grateful for that and will always feel a fan’s connection to his athletic career because of it.
When he faltered at the Rio Olympics, it was tough to watch. Even though he’d become so successful by that point and had found personal happiness and a wonderful husband in Dustin Lance Black, I still felt so bad that he’d been professionally crushed in front of the entire world.
To see Daley respond to the pressure of waiting five years for his shot at redemption by stepping up with one of the most brilliant performances of his career was inspiring. To hear him say “I feel incredibly proud to say I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion” was doubly so.
But as I can attest, Tom Daley has proven to be a champion long before the Olympics finally acknowledged it. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Medal count has Team LGBTQ currently in 12th place at the Tokyo Olympics

Amandine Buchard won a judo silver medal for France at the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. | Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images

If the out LGBTQ athletes at the Tokyo Olympics were a country, they’d currently be ranked 12th. Medal count at the Tokyo Summer Olympics is something we’ll all be watching. And this year, there’s an LGBTQ rainbow twist.
There are over 160 publicly out LGBTQ athletes at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Over the next couple of weeks, we at Outsports will be tracking them as though they were a country: Team LGBTQ.
Imagine if all of the publicly out lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and nonbinary athletes were on one team representing one country with common causes of visibility and inclusion. That’s how we’ll cover this collective group of inspiring out athletes.
Currently Team LGBTQ ranks 12th overall, now tied with Hungary and Tunisia. Rankings are determined by: 1) gold medals; 2) silver medals; 3) bronze medals; 4) total medals.
The current Team LGBTQ medal winners at the Tokyo Summer Olympics:
Gold Medalists

Tom Daley, Britain, diving
This was Tom Daley’s fourth Olympic Games, and his second after coming out publicly as gay. Winning the gold medal for synchronized diving paid off all those years of hard work.
Silver Medalists

Amandine Buchard, France, judo
In just 16 seconds, Amandine Buchard won her semifinal match, ultimately winning a silver medal just five weeks after coming out publicly.
Check back daily during the Tokyo Summer Olympics for the latest medal standing of Team LGBTQ.
If there’s an out LGBTQ Tokyo Olympics medal winner you think we’ve missed, please email us at Outsports – All Posts Read More

Out judo star Amandine Buchard wins silver medal 1 month after publicly coming out

Amandine Buchard captured her first Olympic medal on Sunday. | Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

Buchard was one six elite-level French athletes who publicly came out for Pride Month. Amandine Buchard was one of six elite-level French athletes who publicly came out for Pride Month. And now, the Judo star is an Olympic medalist.
Buchard took home the silver medal Sunday in the half lightweight event, losing the final to Ute Aba of Japan. Buchard, a two-time bronze medalist at the World Judo Championships, was dominant on her way to the gold medal match.
It took her just 16 seconds to defeat Switzerland’s Fabienne Kocher in their seminal bout. Buchard won her previous two
Earlier this year, Buchard won the gold medal in her event at the 2021 Judo World Masters in Doha, Qatar. She was one of the favorites in her weight class heading into the Games.

Buchard’s coming out was part of the documentary “We Need to Talk,” broadcast on the Canal+ channel. Three of the athletes featured — basketball player Céline Dumerc, fencer Astrid Guyart and Buchard — are competing in Tokyo.
In the film, Buchard says she hasn’t spoken to her mother since coming out three years ago. Nonetheless, she urges other closeted individuals to live their truth.
“I am good in my life, I am good in my sport, I accept myself,” Buchard says.
Those are wise words to follow. In a celebratory Facebook post, Bouchard said she’s already preparing for Paris 2024.
“A great adventure ending for me in Tokyo,” she wrote. “I already have in perspective of writing a much more beautiful new story in Paris in 3 years.”

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images
Buchard poses with bronze medalist Odette Giuffrida of Team Italy (right). Outsports – All Posts Read More

The Olympics and NBC failed Alana Smith and the non-binary community

Alana Smith | Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Alana Smith’s Olympics debut Sunday was historic, but it showed that Olympic organizers and TV commentators are far from understanding of non-binary identities. Alana Smith made Olympic history on Sunday, becoming the first out non-binary athlete to represent the USA at the games when they participated in the Women’s Skateboarding Street event.
Smith made sure the moment was known by etching their pronouns into the grip tape on their board in multiple places, displaying it proudly on the broadcast during their introduction ahead of prelims.
It was a moment of celebration for all of us whose identities defy the gender binary, including Smith, whose face displayed an uncontained joy in that moment and throughout their runs. Missing tricks couldn’t even wipe the smile off their face.
But spectators watching Smith from home witnessed first-hand that while non-binary athletes have shown that they can handle the Olympic stage, the Olympics itself hasn’t caught up on their end.
NBC Sports commentators Todd Harris and Paul Zitzer consistently misgendered Smith during their prelim runs. BBC commentators Marc Churchill and Ed Leigh did the same.

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A post shared by Alana Smith (@alanasmithskate)

There is no excuse for why this happened. When Outsports published a brief profile of Smith a couple weeks ago, we reached out to them and specifically asked how they identify.
But what do you expect to happen when the Olympics itself chose to not properly represent Smith’s gender identity on their official Olympics bio? Sure, the site correctly uses they/them for Smith further down, but misgendering them at the very top of the page sets a precedent, one that was carried through during the broadcasts.
It isn’t hard to correctly gender an athlete. Knowing such information falls into the purview of a commentator’s job.
Fellow BBC commentator Tim Warwood, who wasn’t on Sunday’s broadcast, claimed that the misgendering was likely the result of not having “seen anything regarding gender” and defaulting to information provided by event organizers when they don’t know an athlete well. That isn’t an excuse for alienating a section of the audience primed to revel in seeing someone like Smith representing the modern conversation on gender in a positive way.
It also exposes Olympics organizers when it comes to how much they pay attention to properly representing the athletes whose life stories and supreme abilities they cherish so dearly.

Alana Smith with They/Them on their board at the Olympics— Jen J Walker (@MsJenJWalker) July 26, 2021

Harris can like all the comments on Instagram asking him and Zitzer to stop misgendering Smith during the broadcast, but that doesn’t change the fact that doing so in the first place displays a blatant disrespect to both Smith and the non-binary fans of a supposedly-modern sport making its Olympic debut.
During an Olympics featuring the largest group of out LGBTQ athletes ever to compete, including non-binary and trans athletes who are at the center of conversations about gender identity and sports, what happened to Smith on Sunday reflects the attitudes within the minds of event organizers.
The information is out there. Olympic organizers have it, failed to properly communicate it to people whose job it is to convey knowledge of competitors (who are capable of doing their own research as well) and soured an amazing moment of inclusivity in sport in doing so.
How often can you say pro wrestling did a better job of presenting itself than the Olympics?
While Smith didn’t qualify for the final, they proved that reaching a stage as large as the Olympics is attainable for non-binary athletes. And those charged with communicating that on international television failed them and their audience at every step of the way. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Sue Bird and WNBA players now being criticized for honoring the National Anthem at Olympics

Sue Bird (left) is representing the United States in her fifth Olympic Games. | Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Sue Bird is right: Wearing USA on their jersey should impact how players approach the National Anthem. Sue Bird and the US Women’s Basketball Team are facing questions about their announced plans to stay on the court during the playing of the National Anthem for their games at the Tokyo Olympics.
Yes, criticism for honoring the Anthem. You read that right.
It’s noteworthy because WNBA players often leave the court during WNBA games for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. The players have said that’s an attempt to make a statement about their collective dissatisfaction with how American society addresses social-justice issues.
To be sure, it’s easy to understand why people would be frustrated with what seems to be a double standard, with the players now saying they will stay on the court for the Anthem in Tokyo.
At the core of the issue is a choice now widespread amongst women in American professional basketball to use the Anthem — one of the most visible representations of the United States — as a tool to express disappointment with the very country they are now representing.
And that’s part of the very reason Sue Bird and the rest of her teammates are choosing to use different means at the Olympics to attempt to bring attention to causes of racism, sexism and homophobia.
“You are wearing USA jerseys, and it does change the conversation a little bit and what you’re representing,” Bird told the Associated Press.
It’s completely reasonable for someone to protest issues in their country differently on the international stage than they do the national stage.
It’s similar to the often (but not always) observed tradition of American politicians holding back criticism of an American President when they are overseas. How we engage in conversations about domestic issues can absolutely be equally thoughtful and different depending on where the protest is taking place.
Bird’s fiancée, soccer star Megan Rapinoe, has in the past made a very different choice, opting to kneel for the National Anthem while representing her country and saying she’ll probably never sing the Anthem ever again.
Yet Bird and the US basketball team are certainly not beholden to anything a soccer player does, engaged to marry or not. The conclusions of these conversations — how to best express disappointment with inequality — are not easily forced on others. The women playing for the United States in basketball at the Tokyo Olympics represent different racial groups and the LGBTQ community, in addition to women everywhere.
If they want to turn their backs on the National Anthem at home and stand in respect of the Anthem abroad, I understand it.
And if Bird, who is going for her fifth Olympic gold medal while representing the United States, feels it’s important to respect the National Anthem while wearing USA on her jersey, I’m here for it.
Even if it wasn’t, I’m not going to chastise a team of women, some of whom are Black and LGBTQ, for taking the stand they feel appropriate to express how they feel about social justice. And I applaud them for being able to recognize the value so many Americans place on them wearing that Team USA jersey.
Frankly, no matter what they chose to do with the Anthem in Tokyo, they were going to get criticized anyway. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Alexis Sablone barely misses Olympic skateboarding medal podium

Alexis Sablone triumphantly thrusts her skateboard in the air after her performance at the Olympic Women’s Street Final. | Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Competing with stars over a decade younger, Sablone finishes less than a point shy of the bronze. Alexis Sablone took fourth place representing the United States in the inaugural Olympic Women’s Street Skateboarding competition, proving to her much younger competition that she’s still got a lot left in the tank.
Competing as a 34-year-old in an event mostly populated by teenagers, she finished just 0.92 points shy of the medal podium.
Sablone, who identifies as queer and has designed her own Pride skate shoe, wowed the judges with several tricks that boosted her score in an attempt to overcome a couple of average runs in the middle of the competition.
Afterwards, she revealed to the media that she was able to perform so well at the Olympics because it felt like just another contest.
“I’ve been here, I’ve seen these people—we’ve skated together before,” she said. “And then there’s that part of my brain…like going crazy, thinking like ‘This is history! This is the first Olympics!’”

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Alexis Sablone shows that the skills that have made her a force to be reckoned with for years are still there in abundance.

As a woman in skateboarding, Sablone has been used to blazing a trail and being fueled by doubters. She remarked that she was aware about what her Olympic performance and the event itself meant for representation:
“For a long time, there were way fewer females doing this. It’s taken until now to get enough people to pay attention, to get enough eyes on it, to inspire girls around the world to start skating. So you can get that freak of nature I’d say—you can get someone like [silver medalist] Rayssa [Leal], who is exceptional. It’s wild to see.”
It’s also been wild to see Sablone competing at the highest level for almost two decades. And she’s clearly not done yet. Outsports – All Posts Read More

Anchored by an openly gay swimmer, Canada sets national relay record and barely misses a medal

Markus Thormeyer of Team Canada.

Markus Thormeyer and Team Canada came very close to a bronze medal in the 4×100 meters as the team set a national record in the event. Markus Thormeyer swam his personal best for Canada as the anchor leg in the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay at the Tokyo Olympics and it almost resulted in a medal.
Thormeyer, who came out publicly as gay in 2020, swam fourth for Canada and had his personal best in the 100 meters (48.17) but was overtaken near the end for the bronze medal by Australian Kyle Chalmers. Nonetheless, it was a Canadian record for the men in the 4×100 relay and something to be proud of. Not bad for a team seeded 16th going in. Thormeyer’s best event is the backstroke, so to do that well in the freestyle is quite an accomplishment.
What did in Canada’s medal hopes was the insane final leg by Australian swimmer Kyle Chalmers, who won the gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle in 2016. His 46.44 100 meters beat not only the four American relay swimmers who won the gold but all of the other 31 swimmers in the field. (It also was a faster time than he had in winning the gold in 2016). Without Chalmers’ effort, Canada and Thormeyer would have had the bronze.

RECORD ALERT! The men’s 4×100 freestyle relay team (B. Hayden, J. Liendo, Y. Kisil & M. Thormeyer) breaks the Canadian record and finishes 4th with a time of 3:10.82!Ruslan Gaziev swam in the prelims to help qualify the relay team#Swimming #Tokyo2020— Swimming Canada / Natation Canada (@SwimmingCanada) July 26, 2021

Thormeyer still has one event left — the 200-meter backstroke on Wednesday (Tuesday night in the U.S.). But has has already left his mark as one of the seven out LGBTQ swimmers in Tokyo.
“I am out, proud, and hoping to act as a role model for any LGBT person who may need it,” Thormeyer said before the Olympics. “To show them they can chase their dreams and succeed at anything they put their minds to, all while spreading love and kindness. I was only able to make it here today through the love and support of my family and friends, and I want to continue perpetuating that loving atmosphere in this community.”
You can follow Thormeyer on Instagram. Outsports – All Posts Read More

‘Oh, my God!’ Tom Daley, Matty Lee win gold medal in synchronized diving

Tom Daley and Matty Lee with their gold medals in synchronized diving. | Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Gay icon Tom Daley and partner Matty Lee won the gold in diving in dramatic fashion. “Oh, my God!” “Oh, my God!” That was the reaction of British diver Tom Daley when he and Matty Lee won the gold medal Monday in the men’s 10-meter synchronized diving at the Tokyo Olympics.
For Daley, who is openly gay, and Lee, it was a stunning win over the favored Chinese divers Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen and played out in dramatic fashion that saw the Brits win the gold by 1.23 points over the six dives.
It was Daley’s first gold medal (he has two Olympic bronzes) and he and Lee took the lead on their fourth dive and hold off a furious charge by the Chinese. In the sixth dive, a forward with 4 1⁄2 somersaults, Daley and Lee scored 101.52 points. Cao and Chen scored 101.52 on their final dive but they came up just short.
The Chinese were the last team to dive and Daley and Lee could only watch as their scores came in. When it was shown that their score would hold up for the gold, Daley, Lee and their coaches embraced, yelling and jumping up and down, with Daley saying, “Oh, my God!” “Oh, my God!” It was pure sports drama.
What made the competition extra special was the commentary by NBC’s Ted Robinson and Cynthia Potter, who openly discussed Daley’s marriage to Dustin Lance Black and them having a son. When the gold medal was secured, Robinson noted that Black was watching the event in Canada.
On an earlier dive by Daley and Lee, Robinson and Potter had this exchange:
Ted Robinson: “Tom Daley has grown up in front of the world and in England has been the subject of intense scrutiny. Since Rio five years ago, he married and he and husband Dustin have an adopted son, Robbie Ray, and Tom Daley has talked about that has changed his outlook and his perspective.”
Cynthia Potter: “Yes and I think that [husband] Dustin Lance Black, who has all of the notoriety of Tom Daley — he is a screenwriter and an award-winning screenwriter — and I had the opportunity to talk to him the other day and he was delightful. He said his job is to make him feel comfortable as possible and when he’s talking about Tom’s diving don’t increase his stress level.”
It was natural banter, the kind we’ve heard from announcers about straight partners forever and I loved it. Then watching Daley and Lee take the gold with clutch dive after clutch dive was the highlight of the Olympics so far.
Getty has some great photos from the win by Daley and Lee:

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images Outsports – All Posts Read More