She said yes! (Twitter)
Same-sex couples have become more visible than ever at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, but not without a few awkward moments.
The most memorable and heartwarming example so far was the Games’ first same-sex marriage proposal on Monday.
Following the women’s rugby sevens finals at the Deodoro Stadium, 28-year-old Marjorie Enya, a volunteer manager at the venue, proposed to her girlfriend, 25-year-old Brazilian rugby player Isadora Cerullo.
Enya used a microphone to make the emotional proposal on the pitch as the crowd and journalists watched on. When Cerullo said yes, their embrace was met with applause.
“As soon as I knew she was in the squad I thought I have to make this special,” Enya told BBC Sport.
“The Olympic Games can look like closure but, for me, it’s starting a new life with someone. I wanted to show people that love wins,” she said.
Despite increased visibly, there have been missteps in how same-sex relationships have been covered by broadcasters.
Tom Daley celebrates his bronze win with boyfriend Dustin Lance Black (Instagram)
American network NBC has twice been slammed for its insensitivity. The first instance took place during the men’s synchronized 10-meter platform diving event.
After a dive by openly gay British champion Tom Daley and his dive partner Dan Goodfellow, the camera showed Daley’s boyfriend, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, in the crowd, wearing a Team Daley T-shirt.
Unlike in most cases in which partners are highlighted, the commentators failed to acknowledge who Black is and didn’t mention his relationship with Daley, (who, with Goodfellow, won a bronze in the event).
NBC told The Advocate: “With more than 11,000 athletes at the Games, it isn’t always possible to identify every competitor’s significant other, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
It remains strange, however, that two such high profile people’s relationship was not noted, in spite of the broadcaster’s focus on “human interest stories” at the event.
NBC messed up again after Brazilian volleyball player Larissa França won a qualifying match and rushed to the stands to hug and kiss her wife, Liliane Maestrini.
Larissa França hugs her “husband”
NBC’s Chris Marlowe went on to describe the scene on air: “She gives a hug to Lili. That is her husband. She married Lili in 2013 and Larissa is celebrating with her pals.”
Marlowe later apologised in a statement to Outsports, saying: “I’m sorry for the mistake today. Clearly, Liliane is Larissa’s wife.”
A record-breaking more than 40 openly LGBT athletes are competing in the Rio Olympics, including South Africans Sunette Stella Viljoen (javelin) and Caster Semenya (running).
For the first time ever, a same-sex married couple will compete together in the Olympics: British hockey players Kate Richardson-Walsh and Helen Richardson-Walsh.