Polish Rower Comes Out After Winning Silver

Kasia Zillmann on Facebook

The current number of out athletes competing in this year’s games is greater than the sum of all athletes who competed in previous games combined. 

The roster of out LGBTQ+ Olympic athletes competing in the Tokyo Games just got another name: Polish rower Katarzyna Zillman has come out following her team’s silver-medal performance in the quadruple sculls.

Zillmann publicly thanked her girlfriend following her team’s medal-winning run. When later pressed by reporters, she said that she had come out previously in interviews, but that the story was never published, the Advocate reports. “The conversations with you after the medal race were not groundbreaking for me,” she said. “I’ve already talked about it in interviews before, but for some reason, it wasn’t published.” 

Zillmann is one of over 160 out LGBTQ+ athletes competing in this summer’s games according to Outsports. So far, out athletes have racked up a total of 11 medals, including gold-medal wins for Great Britain’s Tom Daley in men’s synchronized diving, and the United States’ Stephanie Dolson in women’s 3X3 basketball.

Among the six out silver medalists, along with Zillmann, are Erica Sullivan, a U.S. swimmer, and Ally Carda, Amanda Chidester, and Haley McCleney, who all play for the U.S. women’s softball squad. The bronze-winning Canadian softball team includes two out athletes, Larissa Franklin and Joey Lye. 

The current number of out athletes competing in this year’s games is greater than the sum of all athletes who competed in previous games combined

The silver-medal win was the first medal for Poland in the 2020 Games. Twitter users have posted their congratulations to Zillmann and her teammates, with many of them also expressing their gratitude for her coming out.

“I’ve been feeling really depressed today. The state of the world and all that,” one user wrote. “But then Polish rowers won silver in Tokyo and one of the girls came out on live state (homophobic) TV. Go, girl!” 

In recent years, Poland has cracked down on LGBTQ+ rights, with some parts of the country declaring themselves “LGBTQ” free zones.


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