Sled accident ruins chances for openly-gay Olympic hopeful

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

An athlete who could have been the first openly gay athlete on Team USA at the Winter Olympics has missed his chance after an equipment malfunction ruined his qualifying race.

John Fennell was in his qualifying run to decide who would be representing the USA luge team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

However partway through the runner on his sled broke, ruining his race.

The 22-year-old shared the news on Twitter.

“Heartbroken. Part of my sled broke off during my qualifying run, cutting my Olympic qualification. Seriously crushed to end like this.”

Sled accident ruins chances for openly-gay Olympic hopeful
From @johncanluge on Twitter

“Sad. Just sad today. But the sun comes up and life goes on. Sled broke during my qualification run- frustrating end to a season,” he wrote on Instagram.

Fennell has dual citizenship, so has previously competed for Team Canada too.

He came out as gay after competing for Canada in the 2014 Olympics, on his 19th birthday.

Sled accident ruins chances for openly-gay Olympic hopeful
From @jahnfennell on Instagram

“Being in the closet is suffocating. You have to play this game of, ‘who knows?’ You can’t let off any vibes or secrets. It’s very exhausting,” he said.

Advertisement Remove ads


“Being in an athletic culture, there’s a certain amount of bravado you have to uphold, so it’s something I really suppressed about myself.”

However he seems to have found a reason to grin again.

Sled accident ruins chances for openly-gay Olympic hopeful
From @jahnfennell on Instagram

“Sometimes you just have to find a reason smile #headinghome #calgarybound,” he posted on Instagram.

Two other openly gay athletes who are competing to represent USA are freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, and figure skater Adam Rippon, who will find out if they place in a month.

Earlier this year British gay athlete Tom Bosworth won the world record for fastest walking mile.

Advertisement Remove ads

An athlete at the University of Nebraska went viral with a video talking about the surprise encounter he had with three American football players after he came out.

Comments (0)

MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.

Loading Comments