Of the 2,500 athletes competing at the Olympics this winter, only seven are openly gay, all of them are women, and none of them are American.
“Either GLBT athletes are uniquely bad at winter sports, or dozens-perhaps a hundred or more-must be competing in Sochi while in the closet,” OutSports.com reported.
Because of the anti-gay laws in Russia, many competitors are protesting the laws with rainbow pins or hats with “P6,” referencing the Olympic’s non-discrimination policy.
Last week, Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said competitors can “enjoy the freedom of speech” at a press conference, but will face repercussions if anything is said during the competition or on the medal podium. Later, chief executive of the Olympic Games in Russia, Dmitry Chernyshenko, contradicted the statement.
“I don’t think [athletes] are allowed by the [Olympic] Charter to express those views that are not related to the sport at the press conference room,” he said. “What I would call the Sochi ‘speakers’ corner’ has been organized in Sochi city so that everybody can express themselves. “
The ‘speakers’ corner’ is a protest area about seven miles away from the site.
The seven out lesbians include three speedskaters (Canadian Anatasia Bucsis and Dutch Ireen Wust and Sanne van Kerkhof), two snowboarders (Dutch Cheryl Maas and Australian Belle Brockhoff), one Austrian ski jumper (Daniela Iraschko-Stolz), and one Slovenian cross country skier (Barbara Jezeršek).
Click here to see which events have the possibility for highest LGBT visibility during the Games.