Feature image photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Like many of us, I’ve been hyped about the Olympics since I was a kid. Despite the worrying circumstances in which the 2020 event will take place and continuing despair at how global athletics governing bodies are failing to tackle both racial and gender injustices, I’m still steamrollered by the thrill of the games, and the spectacle of thousands of athletes from across the world competing in the biggest of mainstream and tiniest of niche sports.
In recent years, the pre-games excitement has been boosted by rolling coverage of queer athletes as they make it onto their national squads. Nothing makes me happier than revisiting Outsports every day to find a bunch more people have been added (157 and counting)! With over double the out athletes going to Tokyo than the previous gay pinnacle of Rio, the numbers point to both progress on gay acceptance in certain countries and enhanced methods of determining people’s sexuality (i.e. Instagram stalking).
Maybe there’s an element of it being easier to be out now, but there’s no doubting that the Olympics is getting gayer. The question is: how much gayer?
After spending the last 18 months looking at charts about the pandemic every day, I felt empowered as a de facto stats expert to look into this situation. Taking a combo of data from Wikipedia and Gaygames we can see the clear skyrocketing trend of Gaylimpians in recent years.
While the number of all athletes has more than doubled since 1980 (from around 5000 in Moscow to over 11000 in Tokyo), the amount gay athletes has grown exponentially, so we’re now seeing an increased proportian of queers on the roster.
Excited over this trend, our searingly insightful master of comments, QueerGirl, asked me: could we plot at what point we will hit 100% LGBTQ+ Olympians? Confident in my ability to properly statistic, I thought: yes we can!
Looking at our LGBTQ+ athletes as a percentage of total competitors, the exponential gay growth suggests a trend line that will take us to 100% queer athletes just after 2076, well in time for the 2080 Olympics!
In even better news, because athletes competing in events designated for women increasingly outnumber those in men’s events (8:1 ratio at Tokyo!), we can expect to see an even earlier date for those athletes (who I’m going to dub “sapphletes”) in 2072! That’s not so long to go, is it?
While we can all agree that hitting this Olympic gay singularity will be a joyful time for all of us, there could be some pitfalls, with my wife pointing out it’s likely that straight people will want to have some kind of “Straight Games” in protest. I imagine this would lead to devastating wildfires among other consequences.
If you are at all skeptical about this analysis, I think it’s worth heeding both the words and spirit of renowned statistician Megan Rapinoe:
“You can’t win a championship without gays on your team – it’s never been done before, ever. That’s science, right there!”
This is science, right here.