4 LGBT Olympic Athletes We’re Rooting For (and Their Longtime Partners)
By Brittny Drye
Behind some of our favorite athletes is a dedicated partner. Someone who tries their best to catch every game while juggling their own responsibilities, who nurses the cuts and the sprains, who massages the sore muscles and who launders the sweaty socks. With the 2012 Olympic Games kicking off next week in London, we tip our proverbial hats not just to the badass LGBT athletes, but also to their loving partners.
Seimone Augustus: Women’s Basketball, United States
After a downward spiral following an abdominal surgery in 2010, Minnestoa Lynx star and WNBA champion Seimone Augustus leaned on fiancée LaTaya Varner to push her back to the top. “I knew I needed to prove to myself, and prove to other people, that I could win,” Augustus said in an interview with the Star Tribune. “I didn’t recognize it, but everyone else around me recognized I was at that point in time where I needed to think about my legacy. I wanted to go out, work hard and get back on track.” The beautiful couple plan to wed in 2013.
Matthew Mitcham: Men’s Diving, Australia
Our hearts melted during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing after Matthew Mitcham, the only openly gay male athlete at the games, leapt into the stands after his herculean win in the diving category to give a celebratory kiss to partner Lachlan Fletcher. Mitcham applied for and received a travel grant from the Johnson & Johnson Athlete Family Support Program to have Lachlan attend the 2008 Olympics.“I wasn’t going to treat my partner like he didn’t exist,” Mitcham said. “I decided I wanted Australians to know who they were supporting. I’m glad I did.”
Marilyn Agliotti: Women’s Field Hockey, Netherlands
Residing in Holland, where same-sex marriage has been legally recognized since 2001, Agiolotti said the first thing she did after winning the gold medal at the 2008 games was “embrace my wife.”
Megan Rapinoe: Women’s Soccer, United States
Rapinoe, who has accumulated a cult-like fan base thanks to her upbeat personality and flashy foot skills, has been in a long distance relationship with her Australian soccer star girlfriend Sarah Walsh for over three years. “Most people who are in a relationship on our team, it’s basically long distance because we’re gone so much,” she says. “You have to have the right personality to go the distance we go and go the time we go. It’s not for everyone.” However, we won’t see their love be put to the test on the pitch, as Australia’s women’s soccer team did not qualify for the games.
Photo: startribune.com; outsports.com; hockey.nl; tumblr.com