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Belgian Figure Skater Jorik Hendrickx Comes Out of the Closet in Pyeongchang
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of February 15, 2018) Belgian figure skater Jorik Hendrickx officially revealed his homosexuality during the Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeongchang on February 12, 2018. The announcement comes seven years after the American skater Johnny Weir and two years after American skier Gus Kenworthy but only four days before his first competition in Pyeongchang. Initially, the 25-year-old athlete had planned his coming-out for the Sotchi Winter Games four years ago but decided to postpone it due to the homophobic atmosphere in Russia back then.
Skaters have to work very hard – but gay skaters even harder…
Jorik Hendrickx practices his sport on a very high level and, just as most male dancers, has been confronted with insulting and homophobic comments for a long time.
Classic dance, as opposed to figure skating, is not an Olympic sport however – and Jorik Hendrickx is well on his way to a medal. It is a sign of exceptional courage to come out of the closet right before such a major sports event.
Maybe this outing will allow the Belgian champion to focus even better on the competition and take home a medal. Here is a promotional training video:
Jorik Hendrickx has been out to his family, colleagues and friends for a long time but has only officially revealed his sexual orientation after arriving at the Olympic venue. As most other gays and lesbians, it took him some time to come to terms with him being gay after realizing it at the age of 20 – and he is no longer ashamed of it now.
I do this for honesty and openness, and because I somehow want to give an example and help others.
(Jorik Hendrickx, in an interview with Belgian newspaper Le Soir)
Why now? Maybe because Pyeongchang is not Sotchi, because four years have passed since the Games in Russia, and because Hendrickx wants to take his fate into his own hands and help others. In addition, other gay celebrities have paved the way and inspired him.
Two other athletes in skating have done it before him: American figure skaters Johnny Weir and Adam Rippon.
Johnny Weir had come out of the closet in his autobiography in 2011 and married his partner on New Year’s eve of that year. (They divorced several years later.)
Adam Rippon (28 years), who just won a bronze medal in team skating in Pyeongchang, is Hendrickx’ second source of inspiration. Rippon had come out on October 2nd, 2015, which made him the first openly gay athlete to qualify for the Olympic Winter Games. American trick skier Gus Kenworthy had won a silver medal in Sotchi in 2014 but only came out 20 days after Adam Rippon (i.e. on October 22, 2015).
It took some time to accept myself. One should not underestimate its importance. This is also why I find it so important to talk about it.
(Jorik Hendrickx, in an interview with newspaper Dernière Heure)
Sophie Vercruyssen (bobsled) and Kim Meylemans (skeleton) are also part of the Belgian team in Pyeongchang – two lesbian athletes who came out before the Games in Korea as well, and with whom Hendricks had a long chat before his important revelation.
All our best wishes now are with this brave athlete Jorik Hendrickx!
Eric Radford, the first openly gay medal winner at the Witer Games
On Monday, Februar 12, 2018, the very same day when Jorik Hendrickx came out of the closet, Canadian figure skater Eric Radford became the first openly gay athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in the team competition. He had already won silver with his team in Sotchi.
Eric Radford (Instagram profil picture) – unfortunately, he is already engaged. 😉
Eric is the first figure skater to win a medal after coming out of the closet. American figure skater Brian Boitano, gold medal winner at the Games in Calgary in 1988, only came out of the closet right before the Winter Olympics in Sotchi in 2014.
Eric Radford had his coming-Oout after the Sotchi games, just like Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy. In Canada, the only real ice sport is hockey, and so Radford, just like Hendrickx, was frequently bullied in his youth. He too needed quite some time before coming to terms with himself and would have loved to have a gay role model. This is why he is now trying to be a role model for young gay athletes.
Together with his partner, Meagan Duhamel, Radford had already won gold in pair skating in 2015 and 2016. Yesterday (February 15, 2018) the two won a bronze medal again. They have announced to end their cooperation after the current winter games.
Eric Radford (33) got engaged to his boyfriend, ice skater Luis Fenero on June 10, 2017. He also plays the piano and composes music, and so he wrote the music for fellow Canadian Patrick Chan's program.
In the name of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Eric Radford officially fights against homophobia as well.
The following video shows an interview with the skating pair right before their performance on ice in Pyeongchang: