- Nic F. Anderson
First ‘Out’ Gay Man Earns Olympic Skeleton Spot on Team USA
Andrew Blaser of Idaho is the first publicly gay man to earn a spot in the Olympic skeleton sport. The other two athletes to earn a spot on the team are Katie Uhlaender of Colorado and Kelly Curtis of New Jersey.
“Making this team is honestly just crazy,” Blaser told Outsports.
“USA Bobsled and Skeleton is incredibly proud of the three athletes nominated to represent Team USA in skeleton at the 2022 Olympics,” said USA Bobsled/Skeleton CEO Aron McGuire in a press release. “It was a battle to make the team and it came down to the very last race.”
In the sport of skeleton, sledders go head-first down a sheet of ice - it’s a really fast sport.
In the Outsports “Five Rings To Rule Them All” podcast last year, Blaser explained it’s been a long journey to get where he is now and only started competing on the U.S. World Cup team last month. He was in the running for the skeleton spot on the U.S. team, but wasn’t the frontrunner.
“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… I have had so many moments where I have ‘quit’ mentally and thought I was done and walking away,.” said Blaser in the podcast,
“The top two ranked U.S. women in International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) standings, Uhlaender and Curtis, earned their ticket to Beijing, and Blaser earned his spot as the top ranked American man… Blaser raced most of the season on the Intercontinental Cup tour, and was called up to the World Cup during the holiday break. He convincingly earned his spot, finishing 172points ahead of the next ranked American,” the Team USA Bobsled/Skeleton press release said.
Skeleton was added to the Olympics during the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and since then, the U.S. has claimed five medals. Three of those medals were claimed in 2002 with the other two earned in 2014.