Australia announces second openly gay athlete for Winter Olympics

Australia announces second openly gay athlete for Winter Olympics
Image: Photo: Facebook / Belle Brockhoff.

The Australian Winter Olympic team has announced a second out gay athlete.

Snowboarder Belle Brockhoff will join cross-country skier Barbara Jezersek in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Pink News has reported.

It will be the second time Brockhoff has represented Team Australia.

“Incredibly honoured and excited to announce that I’ll be representing Australia for the second time at the Olympic Games next month! I will be riding my heart out,” she posted on Facebook.

Brockhoff’s placement on the team comes despite a recent knee injury.

She has been recovering from a ruptured ligament but returned to training to make the cut for the Australian team.

Jezersek has competed at two prior Olympics, previously representing Slovenia in 2014, but has since become an Australian citizen.

The 2014 Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russia, amid some controversy about Russia’s treatment of LGBTI people.

The documentary To Russia with Love, following the lives of gay athletes, was secretly filmed during the games.

The next Winter Olympics in 2022 will be held in Beijing, China. The two other candidate cities were Oslo, Norway; and Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Brockhoff came out as gay in 2013 when she was one of 27 LGBTI athletes to sign a letter opposing Kazakhstan hosting the games, because of the country’s poor record on LGBTI rights, including a ban on LGBTI people serving in the military and on gay “propaganda”.

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics commence next Friday February 9 and run until Sunday February 25.

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