Friday, February 14, 2014

OLYMPICS, DAY 7: Team Rainbow

Ireen Wust, speedskater from the Netherlands, made history by becoming the first openly gay athlete to win Olympic gold, taking the women's 3,000 meters, followed by silver in the 1,000 meters. She could potentially add more to her souvenir collection in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters later on in the Games. Though she isn't really one to make a big thing of that, a first is a first when it comes to these things and so, like it or not, she plays the role of pioneer.

It was noted when she won gold that she's only one of seven openly gay athletes at these Olympics. But you haven't really heard about the other six. So since my Plan A article (NBC's coverage of Moscow 1980) ran into some technical issues (me being unable to hunt down video of NBC's coverage of Moscow 1980), this seems like a fine Plan B.

The other six, and how their Olympic programs have gone:

*Snowboarder Belle Brockhoff, Australia. Competing in snowboardcross. Has yet to compete.
*Ski jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz, Austria. Won silver in the women's normal hill.
*Speedskater Anatasia Bucsis, Canada. Placed 28th in the women's 500 meters out of 35 competitors.
*Short-track speedskater Sanne van Kerkhof, Netherlands. Competed in the women's 3,000 meter relay, fell during the race. The Netherlands did not advance to the final.
*Snowboarder Cheryl Maas, Netherlands. Competed in women's slopestyle. Placed 9th in her 11-person qualifying heat (the top four advanced to the final), finished 12th in the semifinal, ahead of only three DNS's (the top four advanced).
*Cross-country skier Barbara Jezeršek, Slovenia. Placed 19th in the women's skiathlon, in a field of 61. Placed 41st in the 10-kilometer classic, in a field of 76. Still has the women's 4x5 kilometer relay to come.

Overall, the 7-woman team (no openly gay men competing in Sochi) currently has one gold and two silver. Three medals is equal to what the Czech Republic has right now, and they have two silvers and a bronze. Japan has one gold, two silver and one bronze.

The Czech Republic sent 85 athletes to Sochi. Japan sent 113.

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