As Olympic Athletes Arrive in London, Gay App Grindr Goes Down

It's still a rarity when a prominent pro athlete comes out as gay; earlier this summer, Olympic soccer player Megan Rapinoe made headlines when she told that she was in a relationship with another woman.

"I feel like sports in general are still homophobic, in the sense that not a lot of people are out," Rapinoe said has counted just 20 out Olympic athletes, all but three of whom are women. "Simple math dictates that there are many more gay and lesbian athletes in London than who are publicly out. With 12,602 athletes set to compete, just 1% of them being gay or lesbian would be 126," writer Jim Buzinski noted. 

Whether they're right or not, as the Olympic athletes, coaches, and fans start to arrive in London, there's certainly some cruising going on: Grindr, an app targeted at gay men that allows members to see and communicate with potential partners in their vicinity, is reported to have crashed "within minutes" of the Olympic teams arriving in town. 

Technicians believe the arrival of Olympic teams on Monday sparked a flood of new customers – and loss of the service in East London.

One Londoner said: “It happened almost as soon as the teams got here. Either loads of athletes were logging on to meet fellow Olympians or were looking to bag a local.

“The Grindr system obviously couldn’t cope. It took 24 hours for the app to get back up and running, much to the relief of all concerned.”

London is reportedly the most popular city for the app, with some 350,000 registered users. Whether those users were all logging on at once to hope for a chance with one of the athletes, or the flood of people in town just brought in, as the technicians reported, new users, it's nice to hope that the Games are a little more gay-friendly than sporting events all too often appear. 

AlterNet / By Sarah Jaffe

Posted at July 23, 2012, 10:04am

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