Team Australia adds second out gay member to Winter Olympics team

Team Australia has announced a second out gay member of its team for the Winter Olympics this year.

Snowboarder Belle Brockhoff and cross-country skier Barbara Jezersek also made the cut for the Olympics which will take place in Pyeongchang in two weeks.

Brockhoff announced her placement on the team, which will be the second time she has represented Team Australia.

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She wrote: “Incredibly honoured and excited to announce that I’ll be representing Australia for the second time at the Olympic Games next month!!!”

Adding: “I will be riding my heart out”.

The snowboard star competed for Australia at the Sochi Games back in 2014.

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But this time around she had to get medical clearance to compete.

Brockhoff ruptured a knee ligament in December, and only recently got back to training.

She came out in 2013 as she was one of 27 athletes to sign a letter against Kazakhstan hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics because of anti-gay action by its government.

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Brockhoff said at the time that her parents were ‘so worried’ about her competing at the Sochi Games.

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She later revealed that she was the subject of a campaign of vile anti-gay tweets around the time of the Sochi Games.

Barbara Jezersek, who previously competed for Slovenia in 2014, will also represent Team Australian this time around as she now has Australian citizenship.

This will be her third Olympics competing as she also previously represented Slovenia at Vancouver.

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She was one of six out gay athletes to compete at Sochi and she finished 19th in the Skiathlon, 41st in the 10km Classic, 11th in the 4 x 5 km relay and 31st in the 30 km Mass Start Free.

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A documentary about the lives of gay athletes was secretly filmed at the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, it was revealed after the games.

The documentary ‘To Russia With Love’ was fronted by gay figure skater Johnny Weir, who served as the interviewer as he chronicles generations of gay athletes. 

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Director Noam Gonick did not have the consent of Russian officials for the parts of the film shot in Sochi, which was conducted in secret to protect the athletes taking part.

Russia faced massive controversy around the games after it passed a law which banned the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors, back in 2013.

Hate crimes against LGBT people have doubled since President Vladimir Putin signed the bill into law, a study revealed in 2017.

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