BY WILL OWEN
With 12,602 athletes set to compete in the London 2012 Summer Olympics, it’s hard to believe that so few are openly gay or lesbian. Despite newfound presidential support for same-sex marriage and growing LGBT media visibility, the number of out athletes is really no more impressive than in the past two Summer Olympic games (11 in Athens 2004, 10 in Beijing 2008). Estimates this year range from nine to 20.
Some Olympic athletes decide to stay in the closet. However women’s basketball player Seimone Augustus is one openly gay Olympian whose reasons for going public with her identity outweigh those for keeping it concealed.
“Everybody’s been real receptive and real positive. To me it’s a big relief because people want to know who you are as an athlete and now as a person,” Augustus says during a phone interview. “It’s a big part of who I am.”
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