According to OutSports.com, a record number of 43 openly LGBTI athletes are competing in this year's Olympics. That doesn't count the three coaches and number of Paralympic athletes who are out as well.
Each one of the last three Summer Olympics has broken this record—2008's Beijing Olympics had 12 openly LGBTI athletes and 2012's London had 22. As of July 11, there were a record number of 11 openly gay male athletes. Though there are no Americans on the list of gay male athletes, there are seven openly gay women competing on Team USA.
ThinkProgress notes this number will likely continue to grow as major sponsors are backing more openly LGBT athletes than ever before. Nike alone sponsors Gus Kenworthy, a U.S. Olympic freestyle skier who came out after he competed in the 2014 Winter Games for fear of losing his endorsements, Brittney Griner, and Megan Rapinoe, U.S. basketball and soccer Olympians respectively.
"The sports world is far more evolved on LGBTQ issues than we give it credit for," founder of Outsports.com Cyd Zeigler told ThinkProgress. "While there may still be issues in some front offices, the athletes and fans have been ready, willing and able to accept and welcome gay teammates and colleagues for many years."
Rio is also a far more inclusive place than Sochi, where the last Olympic games were held. Instead of laws banning gay "propaganda," Rio's Olympic Village will have a Pride house where LGBT athletes and their families can "interact freely in a welcoming environment." The Russian government rejected plans for a Pride House in 2014, despite there being one at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
This comes as some lovely, much-needed positive PR for this year's Olympics, which, if you haven't heard, has some issues to deal with ahead of opening ceremonies.
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