Canadian figure skater Eric Radford became the first openly gay Olympic champion in the history of the Winter Games, by virtue of his role among Canada’s gold medalists in team figure skating. He and partner Meagan Duhamel took the top spot in the pairs free skate program with their show-stopping routine set to Adele’s “Hometown Glory.”
“If you have the wrong piece of music and it doesn’t connect with the audience or the judges, it doesn’t really matter how great you skate,” Radford, 33, told CBC Radio. “You’re gonna be missing something.”
On Twitter, Radford wrote: “This is amazing! I literally feel like I might explode with pride. #Olympics #outandproud”
The 33-year-old Radford, who hails from tiny Balmertown, Ontario, celebrated his success with Adam Rippon after the two received their respective medals.
Eric Radford is one of 14 openly gay athletes competing in PyeongChang, but thanks to his superb skating in South Korea, he’s the only one from that group who can claim to be the first with winter gold.
Radford joined Australian diver Matthew Mitcham as the only openly gay Olympic champions to win gold at an Olympics. Mitcham earned gold in the 10-meter platform at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
After coming out in 2014, Radford worked with the Canadian Olympic Committee on their #OneTeam initiative, developed to reach one million youth in one year by sending Olympians into schools to talk about LGBT issues.
“I put up with a lot of crap. Not just bullying but people who just thought I couldn’t make it, people in skating who don’t like how Meagan and I skate, people who say we don’t deserve the marks we get. I’ve had to overcome a lot.”
“But if you believe in yourself and focus on your dream and you work hard and surround yourself with a good team who will support you, you can achieve anything you want.”