It's hard to know what's more shocking: learning that an Olympic diver is gay, or learning what NPR finds "powerful." I mean, a gay diver? Can figure skating be far behind?
A Brit named Tom Daley won the gold medal in Tokyo for something NPR called "the men's synchronized 10-meter platform event." And bully for him. But of course, after winning, "Daley delivered an inspiring message to his fans in the LGBTQ community," NPR said.
"I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone and that you can achieve anything and there is a whole lot of your chosen family out here ready to support you," Daley said after his win. "I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion," he added.
The NPR story included a tweet in which Daley invited people to "learn more about my story as a queer athlete & my work to promote inclusiveness for the queer community ..."
What about your story as an athlete without the qualifier? I know, that's silly. These days, you're only as good as your victim status.
But we're three decades on from Greg Louganis. How long can you keep making this stuff "powerful" and "inspirational" rather than insipid and boring? Yes, the folks at NPR soak up identity politics like a poolside towel, and sob-sister human interest stories are maybe the only way they can relate to sports. But Daley's been around the Olympics since 2008, and NPR says he "publicly announced he was gay in 2013 following his bronze medal in London, saying he always felt he was 'alone and different and didn't fit.'"
Well, he fits. There is no more vocal, celebrated, pandered-to grievance demographic in the world, and being a "queer athlete" has perks being a simple athlete doesn't. That's how you get noticed by NPR.