Out Athlete to Rep U.S. in Skeleton Sledding at Winter Olympics

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday January 18, 2022

Out athlete Andrew Blaser will represent the U.S. at the Winter Olympics next month in the sport of skeleton sledding. He's the first openly gay man to do so, and he will be the only male athlete on the American team, joining two female athletes in Beijing, Outsports reported.

The oddly-named sport has a competitor riding at high speed on "a small sled, known as a skeleton bobsled (or -sleigh), down a frozen track while lying face down and head-first," Wikipedia explains.

The event might sound like a recipe for terror, but Blaser's rise to Olympic status has been just as swift, the LGBTQ+ sports site added.

"He only started competing on this season's US World Cup team last month," the article said. "A fantastic season on the sled has now put him in Beijing representing his country."

"Blaser is now ranked 28th in the world and is the top American, beating out veterans Austin Florian and John Daly to become the lone man to represent the U.S. in skeleton in Beijing," the Team USA site detailed in a profile on Blaser.

According to Team USA, "The 32-year-old native of Meridien, Idaho, will also be one of the record number of publicly out gay athletes competing in Beijing."

The American skeleton team — the smallest since 2002, with only three members — also includes two-decade veteran of the sport Katie Uhlaender and Kelly Curtis, daughter of former NFL player John Curtis.

Blaser offered these inspirational words, as quoted by Outsports:

"I have had so many moments where I have 'quit' mentally and thought I was done and walking away. Looking back at every conversation with every coach where I was defeated or thought it couldn't be done, now I KNOW that it can be done."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.