hitting his peak

Out speedskater Conor McDermott-Mostowy keeps winning medals… & plenty of hearts along the way

Conor McDermott-Mostowy standing in a gym wearing a black t-shirt with the Underarmour logo in rainbow colors.

Speedskater Conor McDermott-Mostowy came out and keeps adding to his medal count.

That’s the way it works!

The decorated Team USA member recently won three medals at the U.S. National Championships, taking home bronze medals in the 1000-meter and 1500-meter, and silver in the mass start.

Next, McDermott-Mostowy will travel to Japan for the ISU Speed Skating World Cup. But first, he’s enjoying his current triumph.

“I’m very pleased with the weekend,” he told Outsports. “It was close to as well-skated a weekend as I could have asked for. I haven’t felt this good on the ice since before the 2022 Olympic season.”

The 24-year-old Olympic hopeful publicly came out in style two years ago, after winning two titles at the 2021 U.S. Championships. It was the best season of McDermott-Mostowy’s young career.

While McDermott-Mostowy was out among family, friends and his fellow speedskaters for years, he told Outsports he used to shy away from discussing his sexuality. The medal-winner didn’t want to pigeonhole himself to a stereotype.

“I don’t want to talk about being gay, because there’s a stereotype that gay guys aren’t athletic, and I don’t want that to be held against me or used to justify a bad result,” he said. “I’ve been uncomfortable with that.

“But I feel like at this point, no one can say anything.”

Exactly! Like many out athletes, McDermott-Mostowy has found the best antidote to ignorance is visibility and success. He’s emerged as one of the best U.S. male speed skaters since being more open about his identity.

Coming out didn’t hinder his performance on the ice. Instead, he’s performed even better.

It was a trying road for McDermott-Mostowy. For years, he labored in short track and on Junior World Teams, before finding his home in the long track circuit (skaters race against the clock in a time trial format in long track, whereas they compete against each other over multiple rounds in short track).

“This year I have achieved every goal I had,” he wrote on Instagram around the time of his public coming out.

Over the last couple of years, McDermott-Mostowy has become more comfortable in his role as a standard-bearer. Earlier this year, he participated in the AIDS/LifeCycle ride, a 545-mile cycling tour that starts in San Francisco and ends in Los Angeles.

The event raises funds for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Los Angeles LGBT center.

“I had no idea the impact the ride would actually have on me,” he said. “Being a gay man in sports can be isolating, and living in Utah doesn’t provide a large vibrant gay community to be a part of, so participating in the ride was a surreal and profoundly energizing experience.”

Increased LGBTQ+ visibility in male sports is one of the primary reasons why McDermott-Mostowy felt comfortable coming out to family and friends as a teenager. He says the first major out male athlete he remembers is snowboarding legend Gus Kenworthy, who publicly came out in 2015.

Kenworthy competed in the 2018 Winter Games as an out gay man, along with Eric Radford, Adam Rippon and Belgian figure skater Jorik Hendrickx. Radford made history that year, when he became the first out gay man to win gold at the Winter Olympics. (He and his partner were victorious in the figure skating team event.)

McDermott-Mostowy is still gunning for his Olympic debut. In the meantime, he’s proud to be a role model.

“For any young LGBT kid looking for a sport, I think speed skating is a great choice…that is not to say that being a speed skater, especially at the World Cup level won’t be a sacrifice,” he said.

“In addition to the physical work required, it is isolating to rarely be around other gay people, but you will have a supportive community around you. And you will always have an advocate in me.”

As every gay person knows, coming out is a journey. It’s great to see McDermott-Mostowy evolve, and we can’t wait to see where he lands next…preferably on the U.S. Olympic squad!

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