Posts Tagged ‘Adam Rippon’

Five Key Messages on The Importance of Out Gay Olympic Athletes

The two out 2018 American Olympians Gus Kenworthy (left) and Adam Rippon

NOTE: Links to additional blogs about out LGBT sports figures and issues are at the bottom of this blog.

The exciting 2018 Winter Olympics just concluded. As a huge figure skating fan and an adult skater myself, I spent way too many hours in front of the television this February. And as a diversity and career development consultant with a deep expertise in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace, I was thrilled to see the positive coverage and celebration of our out gay Olympians.

Most notable among the American athletes were figure skater Adam Rippon, whose brilliant long program in the team event helped secure a bronze medal for the USA in the Team Figure Skating event, and skier Gus Kenworthy, who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Olympics and then a year later came out publicly as gay on the cover of ESPN magazine. And from Canada there is pairs skater Eric Radford who won the bronze medal with his skating partner Megan Duhamel.

So why is this important? I feel it sends five very important messages to struggling LGBT youth and others to boost them in their life journey. Here are the five:
1) Embrace who you are. It is important to feel positive and good about all the aspects of yourself that make you uniquely you. That is one of the important messages of diversity and inclusion – that each and every person in unique and we should each celebrate our own distinct combination of diversity attributes.

2) You are good – there is nothing wrong in being gay or queer. It so sad that some faith traditions, certain politicians and even some families propagate the lie that being queer is sinful, wrong or defective. This can destroy a young person who is struggling to find their place of belonging in the world. Our gay Olympic athletes showed us that they are wonderful good accomplished people fully enjoying their lives as well as their Olympic experience.

3) Don’t set limits – you can achieve and excel. These athletes, who are among the best in the world, did not buy into the lie that being gay was a defect that would hold them back from achieving great things. LGBT people can win gold medals, run companies, be accomplished musicians and actors. Queer kids, like anyone else, should feel free to pursue any career and hobby for which they have passion and talent, with no limits.

It is important to connect with positive supportive people like British Skeleton gold medalist Lizzy Yarnold, a straight ally who wore rainbow laces to show her support for LGBT atheletes.

4) Find and Focus on the supportive community. In addition to being embraced by the media (Adam Rippon became the media darling of the Olympics with his sparking, fun personality and poised interviews,) these gay athletes got their share of hateful nasty tweets and online posts. It is so very sad that there are still so many people who feel the need to judge others and put others down because they are different from them. Instead of getting thrown off by the haters, it is important to find and develop relationships with the supportive community. No one needs hate. Ignore and discard it.

5) Do what you can to share positivity with others. The infectious enthusiasm of the out gay athletes brought joy to their fans. Even Adam Rippon mentioned all the positive feedback he received with people struggling with their sexual orientation who were uplifted by Adam’s appearance at the Olympics and on television. By being who he is and expressing it with such elegance and positiveness, Adam profoundly helped so many others in their life journeys.

I do know of a few well meaning people who say, “why does this person need to be so public about being gay?” The answer: it is because it is who they are, and by fully embracing themselves, they empower others to celebrate their diversity, enjoy life to the fullest, and contribute their best to the human family.

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See my other blogs about out gay figure skaters as well as other sports figures and issues:

Seven Fabulous “Out” Gay Men of Figure Skating

Seven More Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating (and One Bisexual Woman)

Russia, LGBT Rights and the Psychology of Bullying

Fortunate is the NFL Team that Drafts Out Gay Football Standout Michael Sam!

Football, Bullying and LGBT Diversity – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Five Important Ramifications of NBA Pro Basketball Player Jason Collins’ Coming Out

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Blog author Stan Kimer, in addition to training as an adult competitive figure skater himself, is a career development and diversity consultant with a deep expertise in corporate LGBT diversity strategy and training. Please explore the rest of my website (which includes my own figure skating page) and never hesitate to contact me to discuss diversity training for your organization, or pass my name onto your HR department.

Seven More Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating (and One Bisexual Woman)

I met US pairs skaters Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc at the 2017 US Nationals where they won the pairs bronze medal.

Important Note: with one exception, this blog only features athletes who voluntarily, personally and publicly disclosed themselves as gay.

Important New Blog! Please read “Five Key Messages on The Importance of Out Gay Olympic Athletes”

Added February 8th: A fantastic short television segment and interview with Timothy LeDuc who us featured in this blog.

Since my original “Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating” is almost two years old, I decided to write this second installation with 2018 being an Olympic year. In addition to my original blog’s Adam Rippon and Eric Radford more than likely competing, Brian Orser coaching and Johnny Weir announcing the 2018 figure skating at this year’s Olympics, this blog contains a few more people we should be seeing there.

Before or after reading this blog, you may want to relook at the original 2016 blog where I also provided some information and link about figure skating not only being a legitimate sport, but about how truly difficult it is.

Note January 18th: A few weeks after publishing this blog, Outsports did an interview with and story about Timothy LeDuc. Link to the story.

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These fabulous men who are excellent role models and testament to hard work are, in alphabetical order:

Christopher Caluza cuddles a koala in Australia as he travels the world on a cruise line’s figure skating staff.

Christopher Caluza – This dual-citizen Filipino-American figure skater began his early career skating for the US, and then later for the Philippines. Christopher was the Filipino national champion in 2012 and 2013, and represented the Philippines at the Figure Skating World Championships for 3 years. He is now retired from competitive skating and enjoys seeing the world while skating in the ice cast of Royal Caribbean Cruises. Christopher is very active on Facebook as an out proud man who advocates for respect and equality for all people.

Guillaume Cizeron – Though I admit Guillaume has never made any kind of public pronouncement of his sexuality, this fabulous ice dancer is totally comfortable with himself in social media. This extremely handsome and sexy man from France (check out his public Facebook page!) is a two time world ice dance champion with his partner Gabriella Papadakis. Papadakis and Cizeron currently hold the world’s record top ice dance international competitive score and are one of the favorites to win Olympic gold in 2018.

J. Scott Driscoll – Scott was a competitive American skater in the junior and senior ranks in the early 1980s, and then a frequent medalist thereafter in the US Open Professional Championship ranks. Now coaching in Palm Springs, California, what is extraordinary about Scott is his use of his skating to promote anti-bullying and acceptance of LGBT people through his beautiful and dramatic program, “Your Love Matters.” Link to performance on Youtube.

Timothy Goebel – This American skater, the Olympic men’s bronze medalist in 2002, known in the skating community as “the quad king,” helped usher in the “quad jump revolution” within men’s figure skating. Probably the most technically proficient skater of his day, Timothy made Olympic history in 2002 by being the first man to successfully land a quadruple salchow in combination at an Olympic competition. This one time US gold medalist and three time silver medalist married his long time boyfriend Thomas Luciano in April, 2017.

Timothy LeDuc – This dark-haired tall handsome American pairs skater initially competed with three different partners from 2009 – 2014 with his best senior’s pair finish of 7th in the US Championships with DeeDee Lang in 2014. After retiring and then performing on a cruise line ice skating performance staff, Timothy was called out of retirement to re-enter competitive pairs skating with a new partner, Ashley Cain. The tremendously hard working team accomplished the amazing feat of placing third at the 2017 US Nationals in just their first year together! Be looking for this tall pair with their gorgeous extensions and long lines to compete for US and world medals in the years to come.

Javier Raya of Spain (left in photo) came out by expressing his happiness of finding the love of his life, Andrew Nicholson.


Javier Raya – Javier Raya is viewed as the “number two” male skater in Spain just behind 2-time world and 5-time European champion Javier Fernandez. Javier Raya, a crowd favorite with his emotional skating, is the 5-time Spain silver medalist and will surely be making his second Olympic appearance in 2018. He proudly came out as a gay man in May 2016 by posting a charming photo kissing his boyfriend Andrew Nicholson and writing, “I have to say that right now I feel like the luckiest person in the world!”

David Wilson – this out and proud world-class choreographer has worked with several Olympic medalist in the past and will likely have several of his skaters participating in the 2018 Olympics. After his competitive career was cut short at the age of 18 due to Osgood-Schlatter disease, he toured with various ice shows before the entering the choreography field. David has now established himself as one of the top and in demand choreographers and his clients have included Olympic competitors and medalists like Jeremy Abbott, Patrick Chan, Yuzuru Hanyu, Kim Yuna, Fumie Suguri and Johnny Weir.

Popular multiple time Japanese champion Fumie Suguri (photo_by_Carmichael)


And though this blog is specifically about gay men, I would like to do a shout out to female skater Fumie Suguri. This four-time Japanese National Champion finished 5th in the 2002 Olympics and 4th in 2006. She came out in the Japanese media in 2014 as bisexual, quite a bold move within the Japanese culture.

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Blog author Stan Kimer, in addition to training as an adult competitive figure skater himself, is a career development and diversity consultant with a deep expertise in corporate LGBT diversity strategy and training. Please explore the rest of my website (which includes my own figure skating page) and never hesitate to contact me to discuss diversity training for your organization, or pass my name onto your HR department.

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