Canada's Eric Radford becomes first openly gay athlete to win Winter Olympics gold

The team figure skating event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, was historic at almost every level.

While Team USA’s Mirai Nagasu and Adam Rippon made headlines— Nagasu for becoming the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics, Rippon for landing the first medal for a red, white and blue LGBT athlete — it was a Canadian who left the most lasting mark on the ice.

Canada’s Eric Radford and Meagan Duhamel compete in team figure skating at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. (AP)

Eric Radford became the first openly gay Olympic champion in the history of the Winter Games, by virtue of his role among Canada’s gold medalists in team figure skating. He and partner Meagan Duhamel took the top spot in the pairs free skate program with their show-stopping routine set to Adele’s “Hometown Glory.”

Radford joined Australian diver Matthew Mitcham as the only openly gay Olympic champions to date. Mitcham earned gold in the 10-meter platform at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The 33-year-old Radford, who hails from tiny Balmertown, Ontario, celebrated his success with Rippon after the two received their respective medals.

This isn’t the first Olympic medal for Radford. He took home a silver from the 2014 Sochi Games for his role on Canada’s second-place team figure skating squad.  About 10 months later, Radford came out publicly as gay in an interview with Outsports’ Cyd Zeigler.

He’s one of 14 openly gay athletes competing in PyeongChang, but thanks to his superb skating in South Korea, he’s the only one from that group who can claim to be the first with winter gold.

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