This is the twentieth in a series of articles profiling known out and proud Olympic athletes who are openly LGBT. The New Civil Rights Movement will publish one article each day as we move through the London 2012 Olympics.
Olympic Team Handball is a high energy contact sport that has been part of the games since the 1970s. If you are a new Olympic fan, it’s an easy game to follow. Two teams of seven try to get a ball into their opponent’s goal. It’s a high scoring game compared to soccer; expect between 20-30 goals scored in a game, and be ready for rough play. In handball, you can physically block a player from advancing, but only if you can get in front of her; blocking from the side or behind will get you a penalty.
Rikke Skov, born September 7, 1980, has been playing team handball since she was 12 years old. By age 15 she was good enough to be invited to join one of Denmark’s premiere handball clubs, Vibor HK where today she is not only still a player, she’s Denmark’s Olympic team captain.
Skov is a much-decorated athlete, with four Danish Cups and seven Danish Championships on her impressive resume. Last year she was the only woman to win the European Handball Federation (ELF) Handball Award, given out on the organization’s 20th anniversary, to recognize the players who have had the most handball success at both club play and international competition. Four men were also honored with the award.
Rikke is already an Olympic gold medallist, wining gold in Athens in 2004. A gold in London would even things up between Rikke and her partner Lotte Kiærskou. Lotte won gold along with Rikke in 2004, but also won a gold medal as a member of the Danish team in the Sydney Olympics.
Rikke and Lotte met as teammates for the Vibor HK and never had any thought to keep their relationship secret. The two have been together more than a decade, and are in a registered partnership as allowed by Danish law. Lotte, now retired, gave birth to the couple’s two daughters Karoline and Anna.
Follow our series: “2012 Olympics: Who Are The LGBT Athletes?” as we profile all the out LGBT athletes playing in the London 2012 Olympic games.
Jean Ann Esselink is straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle.
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