Alana Smith takes the plank for the visibility of non-binaries

Tokyo Olympic Games 2021dossier

After a performance that surprised by its mediocrity, the non-binary athlete of American nationality explained that he wanted to “embody a representation” by participating in the Tokyo Games.

The performance had surprised more than one. Of course, skateboarding was a new Olympic sport but on the night of Sunday to Monday, the non-binary athlete Alana Smith, one of the sizes of the discipline, offered only an ersatz competition. Almost no figures during the first round of qualifying for the street events. His demonstration seemed to be akin to walks between the stairs, curbs, ramps and other slopes that made up the Japanese course. Final result: 1.25 points after two races of 45 seconds against 15.77 for the Japanese Funa Nakayama.

“Embody a representation”

Yet Alana Smith is renowned for having passed the first backflip in a women’s competition, at only 13 years old, as evidenced by the multiple videos posted on her Instagram account. Despite Monday’s poor performance, the athlete appeared happy and relaxed during the remainder of the women’s street events.

“My goal in coming here was to be happy and to embody a representation for humans like me”, explains the athlete in a publication on Tuesday on his Instagram account. His goal: to go through the Olympic ordeal “Knowing without apologizing who I was and smiling sincerely”. Alana Smith, who presented the inscriptions “they/them“(Neutral pronouns, equivalent in French of iel / iels) has indeed explained earlier on social networks to be non-binary – that is to say, claiming neither woman nor man – but to have been forced all his education not to be able to be oneself. Suddenly, he says: “I came out of [cette journée olympique] feeling happy and alive… that’s all I’ve ever asked for. ”

On June 26, the athlete newly selected to participate in the American skateboard delegation, was already explaining on Instagram in a publication spotted by Franceinfo his happiness to be a member after a difficult family journey. “At the beginning of 2019, I was in a dark period”, he says evoking a “Abusive biological mother who molded me to be an always happy child, with long blonde hair and hyperfeminine… which was never me”. Before continuing: “During the pandemic, I took the time to learn about myself and discover who I am: non-binary.” Coming out and relief, a “Moment when I could be myself for the first time in my life”. On his Instagram account, the athlete evokes the acceptance of himself and his body outside the gender stereotypes that have compressed his education.

“Proud to be a gay man”

Other athletes used their Olympic exposure to support LGBT + people. British sportsman Tom Daley spoke on Monday after winning gold in the 10-meter synchronized diving event. “I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion. And I think it’s something that… I feel very empowered by that ”, he explained.

“When I was younger, I thought that I would never be nothing or that I would never get anywhere, because of who I was. And being Olympic champion now shows that you can do anything ”, said the 27-year-old Briton, a true star of his discipline, had revealed in 2013 his relationship with Dustin Lance Black, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Harvey Milk. The Tokyo Games are also those in which the most LGBT + athletes participate, twice as many as in Rio.

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