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The 2021 (er…2020?) Olympics are underway in Tokyo, and there are more out LGBTQ athletes vying for gold than in every previous Summer Olympics combined. That amounts to over 160 members of “Team LGBTQ” from around the world. Each day during the games, we’ll spotlight one of these inspiring athletes.
Douglas Souza volleys for team Brazil. The 25-year-old star came out last year on Instagram, saying, “I want to be remembered as Douglas who made history as the first homosexual in volleyball who managed to play at a high level. I want to be a mirror of non-standard people. I’m non-standard. I’m also extremely thin and that scares many. If I, a skinny, tiny boy from the interior of São Paulo succeeded, you’ll also succeed. That’s how I want to be remembered.”
Douglas took home a gold medal with the Brazil men’s national volleyball team in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games, which took place in his home country roughly 600 miles east of São Paulo.
Here he is talking about how nervous he gets during matches in 2018 (turn on English subtitles, thanks YouTube):
Here’s more from his Instagram: