Friday, August 05, 2016

The Rio Games, Tom Daley & Team LGBT

The Summer Olympic Games kick off tonight with opening ceremonies in Rio de Janeiro --- among the few occasions when I kind of wish I had some sort of television access. But I'll be fine, thank you very much.

I'll certainly be following Team USA as the days pass --- and the tiny Team LGBTQ, too. According to Outsports, 47 out athletes will be among some 11,000 total men and women who will be participating. Seven --- all women --- will be among U.S. athletes.

No doubt there are many more gay participants in the games, but there's still a good deal of fear among LGBTQ athletes, fear certainly justified in countries like Russia, where an Olympic career would be impossible, and others where out athletes would be in physical danger --- a possibility in Russia, too.

Tom Daley, who represents Britain and specializes in the 10-metre platform event, certainly is among those I'll be following. That's Daley, left above, with his finace Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award winning screenwriter for the 2008 film Milk and LGBTQ activist.

Fans of Daley, or those who would just like to learn more of his story and his quest for Olympic Gold since taking Bronze during the 2012 games, can watch a 45-minute documentary released this week on YouTube, "Tom Daley: Diving for Gold." I enjoyed it, although a brief time commitment is involved in watching it.

Daley's level of commitment to his field of competition isn't unusual among Olympic athletes, but the entwined complications --- and triumphs --- of competing as an out athlete certainly are. Now 22, he's been diving since he was 7 and competing since age 9. He came out during December of 2013 when he announced, on social media, his relationship with Black.

His story is an inspiring one for people of all ages, but especially I think for queer youngsters.

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