Winter Olympics Guide for Lesbians: You Better Get Ready

OLYMPICS: Are you ready for the Vancouver Olympics? You better get ready! ‘Cause that shit starts TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m. EST on NBC (if you live in America). Parade of Nations, bitches! I’m excited because for the next two weeks, my apartment will be full of winter sports and that one song NBC plays incessantly. In this Olympic Spirit, Autostraddle would like to drop some gay-ish winter games knowledge on you, and we’re not just gonna talk about how they filmed The L Word in Vancouver:

To start, you should check out ESPN’s Olympics guide for the casual viewer. It’ll tell you all the fun things happening every day. Olympics coverage is usually overwhelmingly male, so SheWired has a guide to some notable female athletes.

The Olympics is usually a pretty closeted place. But this might be the gayest Olympic Games yet. For starters, there are “Pride Houses” now, which I guess is a safe, fun space for gay athletes to hang out. Sounds great! One of them is in Whistler, a gay vacay center and coincidentally also where Shane left Carmen at the altar and Jenny found that French girl, so there’s bound to be some drama. Just sayin’.

Ok, these Pride Houses sounds pretty awesome and important. Keep in mind it is illegal to be gay in some of the countries represented at the Olympics:

“That’s why at Vancouver’s Pride House, even though the focus will be on making people feel welcome and safe, creating a space to meet up with friends and even trade pins, they also want to encourage people to share their experiences about gay life in other countries. Maps will show where it’s illegal to be gay, where it’s punishable by death, where it’s legal to be married and where it’s not.

Refugee counselors will also be on hand. “If there’s an athlete, a visitor, or whatever, and they say, ‘You know what I can’t go back,'” because of discrimination in their home country, “we’ll have people here to walk them through the process,” says Jennifer Breakspear, the executive director of Qmunity, which is hosting Vancouver’s Pride House. Maybe no one will claim asylum at these Games, she says, but in almost every Olympics held in a Western nation, at least one person has.” (@alternet)

Sports to Watch Out For:

+ The US women’s hockey team is pretty hot this year, no lie. Check out their first match against China at 3 p.m. EST on Sunday on USA. They have a big match against Finland, who knocked them out of medal contention in Torino, at 6:30 p.m. EST on Thursday on MSNBC.

+ Curling might be a big joke in the dyke community, but it’s also rather fascinating once you start watching. You can catch Team USA against Japan at 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday on CNBC.

+ Women’s figure skating is probs the most riveting event of the Winter Olympics, but 2006 silver medalist Sasha Cohen thinks the US women will be lackluster this year. She’s probs right. The US women only won two spots this year, and Rachael Flatt and Miral Nagasu are unlikely to medal. It looks like South Korean superstar Kim Yu-Na will be the one to watch. The women’s skating begins in the second week of the games.

+ Intern [Hot] Laura has a big soft spot for girls in snow pants, especially ones that snowboard. She has good taste. And we all know the snowboarders are probably the most fun athletes to get a drink with. Don’t miss the women of the halfpipe at 3:30 p.m. EST on Thursday on NBC. You might remember Gretchen Bleiler from Torino:

+ NBC has a gallery of “model Olympians,” which I think means “female athletes so hot we can objectify them.” Oh well, we wouldn’t mind being a part of that fun. They’ve also got a “Whatever Happened To…” slideshow with athletes of Olympics past, including lots of figure skaters.

Gay Athletes:

+ Our friend Heather Hogan (formerly known as Stuntdouble) (#realnamerevolution) has a great rundown of out lesbian athletes this year. There aren’t many, which isn’t a surprise. Netherlander Irene Wust, a speed skater, and Norwegian Vibeke Skofterud, a cross-country skier, will both be in Vancouver. And watch out for hockey players Sarah Vaillancourt of Canada and Erika Holst of Sweden.

+ Then there’s Johnny Weir. He has declined to go on the record about his sexuality, but he embodies gayness, regardless of his actual orientation. I don’t even care if you think that’s offensive, I am telling you that it is NOT, because it is true, in the funnest, most stereotypically ridiculous senses of the word. He takes the flamboyant sport of figure skating to new levels, which you know very well if you’ve ever seen his show, “Be Good Johnny Weir.” Johnny thinks that figure skating has no need to “butch up.” Apparently that’s a thing that people think skating should do.

His rivalry with Evan Lysacek, a more technical skater who used to date ice dancer Tanith Belbin, is heating up this year. As New York Magazine puts it, the two men represent the different directions the sport could go in: athletics vs. aesthetics. Michelle Kwan likens them to Adam Lambert and Kris Allen (Johnny is Adam, obvs). We know who we’re rooting for. Check out the male figure skating starting at 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday on NBC.

+ We hear Jeremy Abbott, another of Team USA’s figure skaters, is also gay.

A few months back we put together a pretty hot gallery of hot girls playing sports for ya, if you wanna refresh on why you should be getting ready for this jelly, etc. Happy viewing!

Sarah lives in Chicago with her partner and her big white Great Dane. She is a lawyer by day and a beer brewer/bread baker/knitter by night. She & her partner are currently learning how to grow their own food, and eventually they hope to move to a small farm outside the city. In 2009-2010, before jetting off to law school, Sarah was Autostraddle's Managing Editor.

Sarah has written 131 articles for us.

43 Comments

  1. I love Curling. Like, it’s a sport only drunk-ass Canadians would come up with, but that makes me love it all the more, that someone got wasted one night and had rocks, a broom and a frozen pond on hand and thought “TO THE OLYMPICS!”

  2. I have mixed feelings about the Olympics – the IOC and its branches do some really fucked up things. (Like telling companies in the city of Olympia, WA that they have to change their name because it has “Olympic” in it. IN OLYMPIA. GAHH. Sorry it’s my hometown and my dad used to work for a company that had “Olympic” in it and I’m defensive.)

    Here is a recent example of douchehattery: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/02/04/bc-olympic-australian-flag.html (Consider that Australia’s team colors are green and gold, so the red, white and blue Australian flag isn’t entirely appropriate…)

  3. why is this only about america?

    anyways, canada’s women’s hockey team is going to defeat usa’s women’s hockey team (how’s that for trash talk?). one of the girls i played with last year plays for canada and she’s only 18 and also amazing.

    someone has already died at the Olympics during a training session.

  4. i am all for the olympics, but it’s getting crazy out of hand! Everything has to be bigger,faster,harder and it’s getting ridiculous. i live in BC and the amount of money/time going towards the olympics should be going elsewhere. Of course it’s going to cost a country to host,and as proud as i am of Canada, it’s such a waste of money. Vancouver needs a lot of work and the gov’t could have spent half of what they did and it would still be great im sure. ok sry to be a downer, but i couldn’t resist. GO CANADA!!!

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  6. when you said that the us women’s hockey team was going to be hot this year i clicked on the link expecting pictures of attractive ladies wielding hockey sticks, was sorely disappointed. i demand restitution.

  7. Oh, I remember when Vibeke Skofterud came out some years ago! Apparently, the media had known for ages, and finally she and her girlfriend let someone interview them and write an article about how she was “super happy with new girlfriend(which is a gender neutral word in norwegian)” or something like that. It was awesome (and she has really blue eyes).

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