The Winter Olympics 2022 are just getting underway and LGBTQ athletes are already thriving. The action is ready to heat up on the snow and ice this weekend. Here are the events to keep your eye on as the historic number of LGBTQ Winter Olympians aim for the medal podium.
The figure skating team event is currently underway with Team USA leading the favored Russian Olympic Committee heading into day two thanks to an outstanding performance from Nathan Chen. The Americans currently sit atop the leaderboard with 28 points before the field shrinks from 10 teams to five after Friday’s Women’s short program.
Team Canada is on the cusp of qualifying for the Team final, currently sitting two points back of fifth-place Italy. Out skater Paul Poirier turned in the best performance thus far for Canada, scoring a fourth-place finish in Ice Dance with partner Piper Gilles.
Beyond the team event, the individual Men’s Skating event will begin with the short program on Sunday. Out skaters Kevin Aymoz (France) and Jason Brown (USA) will be part of the field. Both are strong competitors and look to surprise favorites Chen and two-time defending gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan.
Mixed Doubles Curling has been a highlight of the early days of the Beijing Games. The sport boasts only one LGBTQ athlete in the field, Great Britain’s Bruce Mouat, but he is one of the best currently on the sheet. He and Jennifer Dodds are off to a great start in the round-robin tournament, currently holding second-place after their first four games.
The duo hold a 3-1 record so far, with their only loss coming in a nail-biter against Switzerland. Mouat and Dobbs will finish round-robin play this weekend with tough matchups against Norway, USA and current leader Italy in the hopes of finishing in the top four and claiming a semi-final spot. Both Mouat and Dobbs will compete for Great Britain in the traditional 4-on-4 Curling event later in the Games.
The Canadian Women’s hockey team entered competition with the most out athletes ever seen in Olympic Women’s Hockey on its roster, and they are impressing. The team dominated Switzerland 12-1 in their opening game and will look to do the same against Finland, which also has an out athlete in Ronja Savolainen, on Friday.
Defending gold medalists Team USA topped Finland in their opening game, 5-2, with out forward Alex Carpenter netting two goals. The Americans and Team Canada have traded the gold medal since women’s hockey became an Olympic sport in 1998, and the rivalry will be renewed Monday when the two squads face off in an early group-play marquee match.
Women’s Moguls is the first freestyle skiing event to feature an out athlete, Great Britain’s Makayla Gerken-Schofield. Makayla ranks 12th after the first qualifier, giving her plenty of security heading into Sunday’s second qualification round. If she qualifies, she will be set for the Women’s Moguls final on later on Sunday.
The competition is also special for Makayla because she is vying for a final spot alongside her sister, Leonie.
Out Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova will look to improve on her 16th place performance in Pyeongchang in 2018 when Women’s Slopestyle qualifiers get going on Friday. Pancochova is competing in her fourth Olympics but has never cracked the podium. The closest she came was in 2014 when she finished fifth in Slopestyle.
This weekend is the first of three events for Pancochova in Beijing. She will compete in the Women’s Halfpipe and Women’s Big Air in the coming weeks.
Winter Olympics 2022: Previously on Towleroad
Photo by Rama/Creative Commons