Out at the Olympics & Paralympics (part 2)
Today, we bring you part two of this latest twofer. Because of course, what we all really want to know is: Who are the Ls, the Bs and the Ts heading there? (Queer athletes? Athletic queers? A lil bit from column A, lil bit from column B?)
Jessica Landström (Sweden // football)
The 27 year-old, 5’11″, forward has earned 55 caps and scored 17 goals for her country. In April, Landström signed for Swedish club Djurgårdens, where she previously played from 2001 to 2004. In 2008, she was named Breakthrough Player of the Year at the 2008 Swedish football awards. During the 2011 FIFA World Cup, Landström scored the winning goal in the group stage win over Colombia, where Sweden reached the semi final. Sweden hosts the Euro 2013 tournament next year, so keep an eye out.
According to EurOut, Landström says that she has always been out – in her day to day life, with friends, with family – but preferred the focus of the media to remain on her as a football player rather than on her private life. In November 2008, she decided to publicly acknowledge her partner Sara in an interview with QX magazine because of the support Sara has provided to her over the years. The couple met in 2005, moved in together after about a year, and were engaged in 2007.
But enough about that: Those arms. Those. ARMS!!
— Jessica Landström (@Landstrom_) June 15, 2012
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” twitter.com/Landstrom_/sta…
— Jessica Landström (@Landstrom_) June 1, 2012
Hedvig Lindahl (Sweden // football)
Another pro footballer, when goalie Hedvig Lindahl isn’t representing her country, she’s keeper for Kristianstad DFF in Damallsvenskan. She started playing footie from the age of four, and hasn’t stopped since then. She represented Sweden in the World Cup in 2003, 2007 and 2011; at The Olympics in 2004 and 2008, as well as this year’s; and at the Euros in 2005 and 2009. With her national side, she’s earned two World Cup medals: silver in 2003 and bronze in 2011. She’s won Goalkeeper of the Year in Sweden thrice: in 2004, 2005 and 2009.
Maartje Paumen (The Netherlands // field hockey)
Captain of the Dutch national team since May 2011 and club player with Hertogenbosch, midfielder Maartje Pauman is a World Cup champion – picking up gold in 2006 and silver in 2010 – and winner of Olympic gold in 2008. The 26 year-old has earned 131 caps, and scored 106 goals for The Netherlands. Paumen was named Rabo league top scorer in 2009, 2010 and 2011; FIH World Hockey Young Player of the Year 2008; Rabo league Player of the Year 2011; and Best FIH Player of the World 2011.
TL;DR: She’s basically the best hockey player in the world. No probs.
Paumen is in a relationship with team mate Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel (see part one of our Out profiles). Bless!
Carole Péon (France // triathlon)
Born in Nice and currently living in Montpellier, this southern French triathlete took up the sport at the age of 19. The 33 year-old Péon is currently ranked 31st in the world, and her career highlights include: becoming 2010 European vice champion in Athlone (Athlone! True story..); coming second in 2008 at the Kitzbuhel World Cup; taking second place in the 2007 Cancun World Cup; and in 2006, placing fifth at the Doha World Cup and fourth in the Tizzy World Cup. Tizzy!
Péon lives with her partner and fellow triathlete, UK-born Jessica Harrison (see part one of our Out profiles). The pair will both represent France at this year’s Olympics.
Mayssa Pessoa (Brazil // handball)
Brazil’s Mayssa Pessoa plays professional handball for her club, Issy-Paris. Previously she spent two years at Arvor (2009-2011), with former team mates including Alexandra Lacrabère (see part one of our Out profiles).
In a recent interview with TÊTU, the 27 year-old keeper described how she had been named as patron of the Tournoi International de Paris 2012 (TIP), which took place in May. She told TÊTU that she found the entire concept of TIP highly interesting, a tournament that rallies around LGBTs, for our rights and respect.
Concerning the fact that there are very few out professional handball players, Pessoa believes there are many who lesbian and bi women who remain closeted, as she once had been. She explained that she struggled with her sexuality for some years until she finally accepted her identity and realised: “I like girls, that’s just how it is!” She later worried about disclosing to her then team mates in Arvor. When she finally plucked up the courage to tell them, their response was: “But why did you hide that? It’s not a problem!” Legends.
After that, she says, she felt good about herself and felt free. It also allowed her to concentrate fully, psychologically and professionally, on her sport. She’s currently in a relationship, and fears nothing – Good on ya, Mayssa!
Hope Powell (Team GB // football: coach)
A former attacking midfielder, Hope Powell has coached the England football team since 1998, and was named manager of Team GB for the Olympics. She was quite sporty young wan. Powell was the Croydon champion at javelin and shot-put, and her netball team was the national schools’ champions. “If I wasn’t involved in football I would have been involved in sport in some way.” I’d well believe it.
Her former clubs include Millwall (aged 11), Fulham and Croydon. She also played for England, making her debut in 1983 at the age of 16, becoming vice-captain, earning 66 caps and scoring 35 goals. As it happens, her debut for England was against Ireland, where her side won 6-0. But we won’t hold that against her.
Powell was received an OBE in 2002 and a CBE in 2010. In 2003 she was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame and in 2011 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of East London. Powell also works to promote the women’s game, and is patron of the “Kick It Out” campaign and the Women’s Sports Foundation. And she ranked 5th in last year’s The Pride Power List and 48th in the World Pride Power List 2012. Fabulous.
Megan Rapinoe (USA // football)
More football! As you are aware, Megan Rapinoe recently confirmed what everyone already knew anyway, and came out. In doing so, the 26 year-old Seattle Sounders midfielder officially became the first footballer on the current US national squad to publicly come out as a lesbian.
She has played club football since 2002, with Elk Grove Pride (now Sacramento Pride), Chicago Red Stars, Philadelphia Independence, magicJack and her current club Seattle Sounders Women. Rapinoe has made 52 appearances for her national side since being called up in 2006, and has scored no less than 12 goals for the US.
Lisa Raymond (USA // tennis)
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Lisa Raymond is a pro tennis player whose greatest achievements have been in doubles tennis. She has 11 Grand Slam titles to her name: six in women’s doubles and five in mixed doubles. On June 12, 2000, she reached the world number one ranking in doubles. Her career high singles ranking was fifteenth in October 1997. She turned pro in 1993 and plays right-handed, with one-handed backhand.
Raymond graduated from Academy of Notre Dame high school in 1991 and is an avid Florida Gators fan. She enjoys travels with her dachshund Casy when possible, and hopes to one day open her own doggie daycare. For now, though, it’s all about the tennis.
The 39 year-old was in a relationship with her former doubles partner, Aussie pro Rennae Stubbs – which didn’t always go smoothly, if Stubbs is to be believed! Raymond’s favuorite film is the Jodie Foster thriller, The Silence of the Lambs and she’s a fan of Sarah McLachlan and Barenaked Ladies. (Game, set and) Natch.
— Lisa Raymond (@lisaraymond73) February 25, 2012
Rikke Skov (Denmark // handball)
31 year-old Rikke Skov is already an Olympic champion, winning with the Danish national team at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The side also took silver in 2004 at the European Championships in Hungary. As of the end of last year the left back has scored 122 for Denmark, with 344 caps to her name. She joined Viborg HK as a teenager and has remained at the club to date.
In 2011 she was among five players – and the only woman – to received the European Handball Federation (EHF) Handball Award on the 20th anniversary of the EHF. She said of the award, “This award is for everything I have achieved in handball including victories, finals and games. I am so proud.”
Pia Sundhage (USA // football: coach)
We began with a Swede, and we’ll conclude with a Swede. Pia Sundhage is the current coach of the United States football team, a position she’s held since November 2007. Before that, Sundhage’s senior football career began in 1978 when she played for Falköpings KIK club. Largely playing as a forward, and occasionally a midfielder and defender, she was a member of ten clubs between ’78 and ’96.
Sundhage represented her native Sweden, from 1975 (aged 15!) until ’96, racking up 146 caps and scoring 71 goals. A legendary player in her country, she played in the 1991 and 1995 World Cups, and in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. She scored four goals for Sweden at the 1991 World Cup, helping the Swedes to take third place. She scored one goal in the 1995 World Cup against Germany and played every minute of all three matches in Atlanta.
From 1992, she made up part of the back room staff of no less than seven clubs. Before her current appointment, she was assistant manager with China’s national team. Less than a year after being named head coach of the US team, Sundhage led the squad to a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, defeating Brazil in the final.
In January 2010 Sundhage came out in an interview with Sweden’s TV4 (lacks subtitles) and stated, “There has been no problem for me to be openly gay as head coach in the US.” She said that both she and her partners Marie have received a wonderful reception.
Oh Pia! Tack!