A gay sport site has reported that only ten athletes at the 2008 Olympic Games are openly gay. says that of the 10,708 athletes who are participating in the Beijing games, only 10 are known to be gay or lesbian.

It says that this number is unchanged from the 2004 games in Athens, adding that of the ten only one is a man; Australian diver Matthew Mitcham. The 2000 Sydney Games saw seven openly gay athletes participate.

The site lists the nine out lesbian athletes as Judith Arndt (Germany, cycling), Imke Duplitzer (Germany, fencing), Gro Hammerseng and Katja Nyberg (Norway, handball and a lesbian couple), Natasha Kai (U.S., soccer), Lauren Lappin (U.S., softball); Victoria “Vickan” Svensson (Sweden, soccer); Rennae Stubbs (Australia, tennis) and Linda Bresonik (Germany, soccer).

Outsports says that an openly bisexual American softball player, Vicky Galindo, is also participating in the event.

It calculates that over 1000 of this year’s Olympic athletes are likely to be gay or lesbian, based on the much-used statistic of 10% of the population being gay.

“The reasons athletes stay in the closet are varied, but revolve mainly around fear of the consequences of being out – from the effects on performance, interaction with teammates, fans and the media, and, in some cases, endorsements,” writes Outsports’ Jim Buzinski.

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