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Gays at the Games: Team Netherlands!

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics has a record breaking 181+ LGBT athletes competing in it. It has seen more visible out Olympians than all the previous Olympics combined. Furthermore, there are more lesbian and bisexual women than gay and bisexual men, with a ratio of about 8:1. So let’s take a look at some lesbian and bisexual women from Team Netherlands!

Anne Veenendaal, via her Instagram

Anne Veenendaal, field hockey goalkeeper, made her debut for the Netherlands national team in 2015, at 19-years-old. She’s openly lesbian. “The decision made by Anne Veenendaal at 13-years-old to stop playing tennis and focus on field hockey looks to have been a great one,” reports Redbull. “By 16 she was excelling at club level for Amsterdam and just three years later was picked for the Dutch national team.” 

“When I started playing hockey, a different keeper was picked every weekend,” Anne says. “I soon discovered that I was very excited about the position and I haven’t doubted my decision to become a ‘keeper for a moment.”

Tessie Savelkouls, via her Instagram

Tessie Savelkouls, Judo Olympian and confirmed lesbian, “​​took gold at the Grand Slam in Baku in 2017 followed with gold at the Grand Prix The Hague in 2017,” reported Judio Inside. “She won the U23 Championships in 2014 and silver in 2013…won World Junior bronze in 2011…[and] took Grand Slam bronze in Paris in 2016. She ranked 7th at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She won European senior bronze in 2018 in Tel Aviv. She took silver at the GP in Marrakech in 2019 and Tel Aviv in 2020. Tessie got heavily injured in Paris in 2020.”

Guusje Steenhuis, via her Instagram

Lesbian Guusje Steenhuis, Judo Olympian, “won silver at the World Championships in Baku in 2018 World bronze in 2021 in Budapest,” reported Judo Inside. “She won the European Games in 2019. She took gold at the Grand Slam in Baku in 2017 and she took gold at the Grand Prix The Hague in 2017. She won the GS of AbuDhabi in 2016 and Baku in 2015 and 2016 and took gold at the Grand Slam in Tyumen and silver in Tokyo 2015. Steenhuis won European Games bronze in 2015, silver in 2016, 2017 and 2021. Guusje won bronze at the Grand Slam in Paris and silver in Tokyo in 2017. She took bronze at the IJF Judo masters in Doha in 2021.”

Sanne Van Dijke, via her Instagram

Sanne Van Dijke, “judoka” and out lesbian, is in a relationship Natalie Powell, who competes in Judo for Wales. Sanne “became European Senior Champion in 2021 in Lisbon and 2017 in Warsaw U70kg,” according to Judo Inside. “Van Dijke became world bronze medallist in 2021 in Budapest. She won the Grand Slam in Ekaterinburg in 2017 and Grand Prix Hohhot in 2018. She won her first Grand Prix medal in 2015 in Dusseldorf. Van Dijke won the European title for Juniors and U23 in 2014. She took silver at the IJF World Masters in 2019 in Qingdao. She captured silver at the European Games in Minsk in 2019 and Europeans in 2020 in Prague and over 15 World Cup medals.”

Netherlands women’s soccer team, via Anouk Dekker’s Instagram

The Netherlands women’s soccer team is filled to the brim with lesbians and bisexuals. This includes Anouk Dekker, Sisca Folkertsma, Vivianne Miedema, Sherida Spitse, Danielle van de Donk, Shanice Van de Sanden, Merel van Dongen, and Stefanie Van Der Gragt.

Vivianne Miedema (left) and Lisa Evans (right), via Vivianne Miedema‘s Instagram

Vivianne Miedema, one of the Olympic Dutch soccer players, plays for Arsenal as well as the Netherlands national team. She is in a relationship with fellow Arsenal player, Lisa Evans, who says Vivianne gets so many trophies that they need to reconsider which ones they bring home: “She tells me I can only take home the nice ones now so we’ve got a trophy cabinet at the training ground for me as well,” she said to the Guardian

She knows that the goal scorers – her role on the team – are the ones who most readily get trophies. “We joked about it a couple of times today, the easiest thing would be to stop scoring goals and then you wouldn’t be in the picture any more, but it’s something you just get used to,” she said. 

The humble player prioritises the team over herself: “Until a year ago I didn’t even know what GOAT [greatest of all time] meant, I was like: ‘It’s not really nice for people to call me a goat. It’s not the best animal to be.’…And then Lisa had to explain what it actually meant. But, as I said, although I’m not too bothered by individual prizes or records, you feel appreciated and every single person or player would benefit from that.”

Demi Schuurs, via her Instagram

Dutch Olympic tennis player, Demi Schuurs, took time off international competition during the pandemic to “strengthen her home team, comprised of girlfriend Carmen and Simba, a Pomeranian the couple adopted last fall,” according to WTA Tennis. “I’m someone who likes to be at home, but I’m always finding something to do! I’ve been painting the walls at my girlfriend’s sports school. We’ve played cards and other kinds of board games. Yesterday we finally finished our puzzle, which was 3000 pieces.”

Demi Schuurs isn’t one to hide in the closet. She came out when she was still a teenager: “When I was new on the pro circuit, I was shy because you don’t know how people might think of you. They see someone wearing boy’s clothes, and later find out that I have a girlfriend, so it made me wonder what they might be thinking of me. This is something that totally changed because now, they know who I am, what I do, what I have. They know that I’m polite to everyone, and they see that I’m no different from anyone else.”

She sees androgynous clothing as comortable and special. “I think that’s something special about me, that I wear boy’s clothes. I feel good in them, so I do it. It’s something that makes me happy. I think it’s good when athletes aren’t shy and show who they are in their personal life. It helps people realize that this is a normal thing, which is important because when I was younger and had to tell my parents, family, friends, that I had a girlfriend and had fallen in love with a girl, I remember feeling so nervous and shy. Afterwards, I wondered why I felt that way, because all of those people just want you to be happy, and to be able to live your life…If I had to tell something to other people, I would tell them to do what they want and what makes them happy, and don’t be shy to tell other people.”

AJ Kelly

Contact AJ at [email protected] or view the rest of her work on aj-kelly.tumblr.com

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