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(Editor’s note: Gay Watch at the Olympics is a regular feature keeping track of the nearly two dozen LGBT athletes at London 2012. But here is a spoiler alert! In the U.S., NBC is tape-delaying much of the London 2012 Olympics on its various stations, yet live-streaming on the Internet. Some of the results listed below may not have yet been broadcast in your area.)
The first weekend of competition at the London 2012 Olympics is off to a great start for LGBT athletes. And a brief moment -- a lesbian kiss -- during the opening ceremonies on Friday night was truly a lesbian kiss seen around the world and sent anti-gay pundits into a tizzy. More on that later.
Powered by lesbian Megan Rapinoe, the U.S. women’s soccer team dominated Colombia 3-0 on Saturday in Glasgow, Scotland, and now appear headed for the quarterfinals at the London 2012 Olympics. Weirder things have happened in the Olympics, but the Americans would have to be blown out in their final group match to miss out on advancing in the quest for gold.
The second consecutive win gives the U.S. six points to lead Group G. Each victory is worth three points.
North Korea awaits on Tuesday in a match in Manchester, England. North Korea will be desperate for a win and needs a blowout win and so major magic to advance, after getting crushed today by previously winless France, 5-0. North Korea and France each has three points. Colombia is 0-2, has no points and cannot advance to the next round so its game against France is one for pride. France needs a victory over Colombia and a North Korea romp over the Americans to win Group G.
Rapinoe scored the decisive goal against Columbia in the 33rd minute, and the U.S. added two more goals from Abby Wambach in the 74th minute and Carli Lloyd in the 77th minute.
After scoring, Rapinoe pulled out of one of her socks a birthday message for Ali Krieger, Team USA’s injured player who sustained a major knee injury in January during a qualifying match.
Meanwhile, the Swedish women, which sports three lesbians on the team (Jessica Landström, Hedvig Lindahl and Lisa Dahlkvist), played to a scoreless tie with Japan on Saturday in Group F. Sweden and Japan are tied at the top with 4 points each, and Canada lurks with three points. Sweden and Canada play a huge match on Wednesday with each seeking a berth in the quarterfinals.
The highly favored U.S. women’s basketball team opened the Olympic competition, beating Croatia 81-56 on Saturday.
This was the 34th consecutive win in the Olympics for the Americans, who have won the past four gold medals.
Seimone Augustus, who is engaged to her girlfriend LaTaya Varner, started to the Americans and played 18 minutes. The guard scores two points, hitting only one of her eight shots. She had two offensive rebounds and two defensive rebounds, and had one assist.
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Brazil, featuring lesbian Mayssa Pessoa, eeked out a 24-23 win over Croatia in the first game of the women’s handball group play.
The lesbian kiss seen around the world
Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) caused a bit of a stir as artistic director for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.
Several conservative Tory leaders in the U.K. blasted Boyle for his “leftist” ceremony that touted such things as Britain’s universal health care and the nation’s embrace of diversity.
But it was a lesbian kiss that stirred the most controversy, since the Olympics telecast is seen around the world, including in the 76 countries where it is illegal to be gay.
The brief scene – marking the first-ever lesbian kiss on British television in 1994 on a prime-time soap called “Brookside” that ran on Channel 4 from 1982 to 2003 – caused some anti-gay activists to have a hissy fit. It came during the section of the opening ceremony that was called “Frankie and June Say … Thanks, Tim,” during which Boyle saluted the digital age in the U.K.
Controversy aside, the moment makes history as the first lesbian kiss seen around the world, including dozens of countries where being gay can be a death sentence. Imagine the impact that moment had on LGBT people hiding in fear in homophobic countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Uganda.
London-based Gay Star News uploaded a video, seen below, that shows the kiss and disputes initial reports that NBC censored the moment.
(Editor’s note: Ken Williams, Editor in Chief of San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, is a former sports writer who has watched every single Olympic Games since he was a kid. He has covered a Super Bowl for Scripps-Howard News, and has attended several World Series games, soccer and baseball playoff games, and even a World Cup soccer match. Williams will be keeping an eye on the LGBT Olympians at the London 2012 Olympics in his ongoing column, Gay Watch at the Olympics.)