The Winter Olympics start this Thursday, and—proving once again that queer parents can do anything—there’s a queer parent competing: Dutch snowboarder and three-time Olympian Cheryl Maas. Read on to learn more about her.
The 33-year-old Maas also competed for the Netherlands in the 2006 and 2014 Winter Games. More recently, she won gold in Big Air at the 2016 X-Games in Oslo, Norway. She is raising two daughters with her spouse, Norwegian former snowboarder Stine Brun Kjeldaas.
Maas spoke out against the International Olympic Committee’s decision to hold the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, because of that country’s anti-gay laws. While at the games, she defiantly raised her rainbow-and-unicorn glove to the cameras after a run.
Watch a 2017 Outsports interview with her below, in which she talks about meeting her spouse, coming out, and being true to oneself.
And here’s a 2014 video about her, which includes a few minutes of footage showing her, Kjeldaas, and their first daughter. Maas talks about the joys and challenges of being a mom and says, “Seeing your child grow up and the love you get back—it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”
While I will be cheering my own Team USA during the Games, I really do enjoy watching every athlete in every sport. (I’m a former NCAA athlete, still pretty serious about my sports, and can get choked up over a good sports montage.) Best of luck to Maas and to all of the parent-athletes everywhere who balance training and family and set examples of hard work, dedication, and fair play for their children.