More than 120 gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and nonbinary athletes will compete in the Tokyo Olympics, meaning that this year will be the most inclusive in all of the Olympics history, according to a new report compiled by Outsports.
The website includes lists of athletes that have come out to the media or are out on social media sites and have so far counted 121 LGBTQ+ athletes who will travel to Japan for the Olympics, which begin on July 23rd.
In 2016, only fifty-six athletes competed who were out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and non-binary.
The list includes the likes of weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who will be the first transgender athlete to compete in the modern Olympics. The forty-three-year-old weightlifter will compete for New Zealand in the women's over eighty-seven kilograms category.
Hubbard noted that her country has pulled together through the difficulty of the global pandemic has pushed her further toward the goal of competing as a transgender woman in the Olympics.
"The last eighteen months have shown us all that there is strength in kinship, in community, and in working together towards a common purpose," she said, going on to say that she will wear the New Zealand symbol with pride.
Joanna Hoffman, the director of communications at Athlete Ally, a U.S.-based non-profit advocacy group said: "Every out and the proud athlete is a beacon for others who haven't yet come out, or who are unsure if they can be their full self and play the sport they love."
Poppy Starr Olsen is among the 121 athletes on Outsports list and will represent Australia in Skateboarding's debut at the Olympics. She told TIME that it is harder for elite athletes and others in public positions to actually come out.
"You have a lot of eyes on you, it's terrifying for a lot of people, but if you're under a bit of spotlight you have to come out to a lot more people and that can be very daunting," she declared.
"I'm lucky that I'm a skateboarder, because there are a lot of queer skateboarders, and a lot of them are my friends and a lot of them I look up to too—the fact that they're unapologetically themselves," she continued.
"It can only inspire the next generation, and show them that we're so comfortable in our bodies," she said. "There's so many of us in this thing. You're not alone," she finished.
Tom Bosworth, a gay Olympic race walker, also opened up about the difficulty he's been through in the latest episode of the Five Rings To Rule Them All podcast: "I was in that bubble of failure. I was going out partying and I was pushing my family away. I was treating my fiancé awfully. He'd seen me come from a very average athlete to winning races and competing at the highest level. And I treated him the worst of anybody. I didn't realize how far away from me I was getting, how I was digging myself into some awful holes."
But Bosworth has now finally come out of the other side and will be competing proudly in the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year.
A full list of the 121 athletes who are openly out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and non-binary can be found here.