Photo: SHUTTERSHOCK via Think Progress.
Greg Louganis won gold for diving in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, but he still couldn’t land the coveted Wheaties box as a gay male until earlier this year. A popular online petition demanding that Louganis finally get his cereal box put enough pressure on General Mills to give him the recognition he deserves.
“It means more now than it probably would’ve then because they would’ve been celebrating the athlete [back then],” he recently told Oprah. Now, “I’m a gay man living with HIV. I feel like I’m being embraced as a whole person and not just a part of me.”
When it comes to America’s acceptance of LGBTQ athletes, much has shifted since Louganis was given the cold shoulder two decades ago. Check out this year’s Team USA roster — America boasts seven out and proud LGBTQ Olympians competing in this year’s games.
Brittney Griner, basketball
When the 6’8″ center isn’t grabbing up rebounds, she’s working on her mobile app, BG:BU, which helps young people fight bullying.
Megan Rapinoe, soccer
Rapinoe helped the U.S. women’s soccer team win gold against Japan at the 2012 games and she’s ready to step it up again in Rio.
Ashley Nee, canoe/kayak
Nee’s been on the world championship stage for the past three years and basically lives in the water.
Kelly Griffin, rugby
When you watch her compete, it looks like she’s been playing her whole life, but she didn’t even start playing rugby until her freshman year of college.
Seimone Augustus, basketball
Augustus helped lead team USA to gold in 2008 and 2012 and has started her own foundation to raise awareness around health and wellness.
Jillion Potter, rugby
Potter is a Coloradan who helped her team win bronze in the world championships in 2013.
Angel McCoughtry, basketball
McCoughtry’s already set individual U.S. records at the Olympics for best field goal percentage and most field goals made.
This isn’t just a big year for queer U.S. Olympians either. Globally, there’s more out LGBTQ Olympians than ever before, with 43 out LGBTQ Olympians in Rio.