Gay Watch at the Olympics: First medal is won by an LGBT athlete

(Editor’s note: Gay Watch at the Olympics is a regular feature keeping track of the nearly two dozen LGBT athletes at London 2012. But here is a spoiler alert! In the U.S., NBC is tape-delaying much of the London 2012 Olympics on its various stations, yet live-streaming on the Internet. Some of the results listed below may not have yet been broadcast in your area.)

Fans of Team USA are looking forward to Friday when the women’s soccer team plays New Zealand in the quarterfinals and the women’s basketball team plays the Czech Republic.

Also Friday, Sweden plays France in another quarterfinal match in women’s soccer. Both soccer teams sport lesbian starters.

Still, there has been plenty of competition for LGBT athletes at the London 2012 Olympics.

Judith Arndt of Germany won a silver medal in cycling in the women’s time trial on Wednesday.

She is the first LGBT Olympian to medal at London 2012.

Arndt finished second with a time of 37:50.29 to Kristin Armstrong of the United States with a time of 37:34:82. Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia won the bronze medal with the time of 37:57.35.

Almost two dozen other out athletes are still in competition for medals.

In women’s doubles action, Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber of the United States beat Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the semifinals. Raymond is a lesbian.

In the individual dressage, Carl Hester of Great Britain is in first place on Day One of the equestrian competition, held Thursday. Hester and his horse Uthopia scored a result of 77.720, almost a full point ahead of second-place finisher. Edward Gal of the Netherlands will ride on Friday on his horse Undercover. Both men are gay.

In field hockey, the Netherlands beat China 1-0 on Thursday. The Dutch feature three lesbians: Marilyn Agliotti, Maartje Paumen and Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel. After three matches, the Netherlands and Great Britain are unbeaten and atop Group A play. The Dutch play Korea on Aug. 4 and Great Britain on Aug. 8 in group play.

Natalie Cook of Australia, a five-time Olympian and a lesbian, has been eliminated in the beach volleyball competition. She and her teammate Tamsin Hinchley lost in three sets to Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova of the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Cook won a gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and a bronze at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. At age 37, Cook likely is retiring from the sport.

"I'm proud, I'm sad, I'm disappointed, I'm excited I've left everything out there. I couldn't perform any better," she told reporters as her voice trembled and cracked.

"It's disappointing that it's not enough and I'd love to be playing further in the tournament but you've got opposition out there trying to stop you and ... I don't have any words for it right now."

(Editor’s note: Ken Williams, Editor in Chief of San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, is a former sports writer who has watched every single Olympic Games since he was a kid. He has covered a Super Bowl for Scripps-Howard News, and has attended several World Series games, soccer and baseball playoff games, and even a World Cup soccer match. Williams will be keeping an eye on the LGBT Olympians at the London 2012 Olympics in his ongoing column, Gay Watch at the Olympics.)

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