The Olympic flame was extinguished yesterday at London’s Olympic Stadium and the medals have all been distributed, but analysis of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games continues. All sorts of awesome superlatives and trivia tidbits — junk food for geeky people like me — came out of this year’s games. I’m sure you’ve heard at least some of it: if American women were their own country, for example, they would have finished third in the medal standings. Swimmer Michael Phelps medaled six times, bringing his overall total to 22 and becoming the most decorated Olympian in history. And gymnast Gabby Douglas became the first woman of color to win gold in the all-around Olympics gymnastics competition.
Something that’s been significantly underreported, at least so far, is the unprecedented number of out and proud Olympians who competed this year. There were 23, more than double the number of openly LGBT athletes at the Beijing games in 2008. And as Cyd Zeigler of OutSports.com reports, they won big:
If a country, Team Gay would have finished tied with Mexico and Ethiopia in total medals. Over a third of all out athletes won a medal, surpassing Team USA. . .
If Team Gay was a country, it would have finished 31st overall with seven medals, tied with Mexico, Ethiopia and Georgia. They would have beaten the medal count of such countries as Jamaica, Ireland, Argentina and India. They would have finished 21st overall for most golds (four), tied with Iran, Jamaica, Czech Republic and Korea.
Talk about an amazing accomplishment. And the best part is that these numbers will continue to grow in the future as the LGBT community becomes even more visible and more nations around the world recognize, respect, and reinforce equality for LGBT people. Go, team!