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LGBT athletes are breaking a new kind of Olympic record in Rio

There have never been so many out-as-LGBT athletes at the Olympics, and the percentage growth in just 8 years has been staggering.

by Ruby Samuels
Aug 10 2016, 5:50pm

La basketteuse américaine Elena Delle Donne parle avec son coach Geno Auriemma pendant un match contre l'Espagne aux Jeux de Rio, le 8 août 2016. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Greg Louganis won two consecutive golds in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games as a diver, but it wasn't until he was retired that he could show up at the opening ceremony to the 1994 Gay Games in New York and say, " "Welcome to the Gay Games, it's great to be out and proud."

Flash forward 22 years, and another Olympic diver, Britain's Tom Daley, frequently posts adorable pictures of himself with his fiancé while competing in Rio. Daley is one of 47 publicly out-of-the-closet as LGBT athletes competing this year, a record-breaking number, according to Outsports, which has kept track of athletes who have announced their sexuality to the media for every summer Olympics since 2008.

And the numbers have certainly grown: At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, just 11 athletes publicly identified as LGBT; at the 2012 London Games that number grew to 23.

In Rio, out LGBT athletes include British diver Daley, US basketball players Seimone Augustus, Elena Delle Donne, and Angel McCoughtry. There is even a married couple playing together on the British field hockey team: Helen Richardson-Walsh and Kate Richardson-Walsh.

The 2016 Olympics are also the first to feature an out trans athlete: the US sprint duathlon team's Chris Mosier, who rose to fame when he starred in a Nike ad. These are the first Olympics in which trans people are allowed to compete without undergoing first surgery. The International Olympic Committee introduced new rules on trans athletes in 2015.