BY CANDY PARKER
ESPN’s Body Issue hits newsstands today and U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) and Seattle Reign star Megan Rapinoe makes history as the first openly gay athlete to appear on the magazine’s pages. While both Olympic ice skater Johnny Weir and soccer phenom Abby Wambach have previously appeared in the Body Issue, neither was officially out at the time.
Rapinoe is joined in the 2014 issue by other elite athletes — including Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, USMNT soccer player Omar Gonzalez, tennis’ Venus Williams, snowboarder Jamie Anderson and Paralympian Amy Purdy — in tastefully showcasing the beauty of the athletic physique.
Rapinoe spoke with ESPN magazine about coming out. “I think it’s kind of awkward when everyone knows you’re gay but you don’t say it. I had been thinking about coming out for almost a year before I did. I thought about it seriously on the plane ride home from the World Cup, while I was casually talking to my friend Lori Lindsey. She said, ‘Dude, you should just come out.’ She was right. Everyone in my life already knew. If you want to stand up and fight for equal rights but then won’t even stand up for yourself and say ‘I’m gay’ — that just started to feel weird.”
Rapinoe added that it was important to her to be out at the 2012 London Olympics. “I did want to be out for the [London] Olympics. My girlfriend was coming with me and my family was there, and it just felt like the right time. I just wanted it to reach as many people as possible.”