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#QueerQuote: ”Have Courage. Be Resilient. Be Olympic. ” – Eric Radford, the First Openly Gay Gold Medalist in Winter Olympics History

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Photo from OutSports via YouTube

 

In 2014, at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Radford stated:

‘My concern was that I would be known as ‘the gay athlete’ if I came out at the Olympics, rather than Eric the medaling figure skater who happens to be gay, and I felt uncomfortable with that title.”

Radford took home the Silver Medal at the 2014 Sochi Games for his part in Canada’s team figure skating. Later that year, Radford came out publicly in an interview.

Radford claims that the Canadian Olympic Committee’s #OneTeam Initiative was the inspiration for his decision to come out of closet. He is now an ambassador for the program, which works to combat homophobia in professional sports. He became the first competitive figure skater ever to come out at the apex of his career, still a contender for championship titles, rather than waiting until his retirement.

Radford and his partner Meagan Duhamel, decided to compete together in 2010. The pair were coached openly gay Olympian Brian Orser, who came out of the closet a decade after his Silver Medal win at the Olympic Winter Games in Alberta. Radford and Duhamel won a Silver Medal at the 2011 Canadian Championships. At the 2011 Four Continents competition, the pair won another Silver Medal. During the short program at the 2011 World Championships, Radford’s nose was broken when Duhamel’s elbow hit him coming down from a twist. Seeing the blood, Duhamel suggested they stop, but he decided to continue. They finished the program without a pause.

The team figure skating event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang was historic in many ways. While Team USA’s Adam Rippon received lots of love and made headlines for receiving the first medal for an American openly LGBTQ athlete, it was a Radford who became the first openly gay Olympic Gold Medalist in the history of the Winter Games, receiving his gold as a member of Canada’s team figure skating. He and Duhamel took the Number One spot in the pairs free skate program with their show-stopping routine set to Adele’s Hometown Glory.

Radford is one of 14 openly gay athletes competing in PyeongChang, but thanks to his superb skating, he is the first to win a Gold Medal.

Radford joined Australian diver Matthew Mitcham as the only openly gay Olympic Gold Medalist to date. Mitcham earned his gold in the 10-meter platform dive at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In an interview with Outsports, Radford pointed out a benefit of being a male pairs skater who is gay:

”A lot of pairs end up dating one another. It can become risky because your on-ice training can be affected by your off-ice relationship. If you have a fight at home, it makes that training difficult. I used to joke around that I’m the ultimate pair-boy. I never had to worry about developing an off-ice relationship.”

Last summer Radford proposed to his boyfriend Luis Fenero, an European ice dancing champion from Spain. Fenero said ”yes”, by the way. So, things are going great for Radford, don’t you think?

With Fenero (R), via YouTube

33-year-old Radford, is from the small town of Balmertown, Ontario.

He celebrated with Rippon after the they received their respective medals. The two skaters appear to have become buddies. Adorable buds.


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