The Latest From Beijing
As Gay City News goes to press on August 20, six of the 11 out LGBT Olympians remain in contention for medals. The Team USA women's softball team, on which Vicky Galindo and Lauren Lappin play, beat Japan 4-1 on Wednesday to advance to the finals. Even though the Americans beat Japan, that nation's victory over Australia, which in turn had defeated Canada, means there will be a Japan-USA rematch for the gold on August 21.
In a 2005 vote, the International Olympic Committee decided to end softball competition after the Beijing Games, though that move has been appealed.
Natasha Kai is a member of Team USA's women's football (soccer) team, which is headed into the finals against Brazil on August 21, in a rematch of the 2004 finals, in which the Americans nosed out the Brazilians for the gold. Brazil advanced to the final after dominating Germany 4-1. The US edged out Japan 4-2.
Two other lesbian soccer players – Victoria “Vickan” Svensson of Sweden and Linda Bresonik of Germany – saw their teams knocked out of contention.
In handball, a lesbian couple, Gro Hammerseng and Katja Nyberg, play for Norway, which beat Sweden on August 19 to advance to the semifinals against the winner of a China-South Korea match-up. Hammerseng was Norway's top scorer in the victory against Sweden.
Australian gay diving star Matthew Mitcham, who went to the Olympics ranked third in the world in the 10-meter platform event, was knocked out of contention in the 3-meter springboard competition, finishing 16 of 18 in the semifinals. Only 12 divers advanced from the semifinals.
Mitcham's real hopes for a medal are in the 10-meter event, for which preliminaries will be held on August 22.
In a recent interview with the Advocate, Mitcham said he came out matter-of-factly in response to a reporter's question in May about whom he lived with. That same month, he won the FINA Diving Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale.
Another LGBT Australian, Renee Stubbs, and her tennis partner, Samantha Stosur, beat the Czech Republic in first round straight sets, but lost two sets to one against Spain in round two, according to the Sydney Star Observer.
Judith Arndt, the Gay Games ambassador to the Beijing Olympics, rode for the German cycling team, which failed to win any medals.
German fencer Imke Duplitzer, a four-time Olympian, was also frustrated in her bid for a medal, but she nonetheless made big news in Beijing. According to a post on Bilerico.com by novelist and writer Patricia Nell Warren, Duplitzer was one of 40 athletes competing in Beijing who signed a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao pressing for peace in Tibet, the abolition of the death penalty, and the protection of human rights there. In an interview with Epoch Times she gave during her flight to Beijing, Duplitzer talked in detail about the issues facing athletes of conscience who wish to compete in world events and explained that she was boycotting the Opening Ceremonies in protest.
Warren noted that none of the mainstream international coverage of Duplitzer's comments identified her as an out lesbian.