Abby Wambach is an athlete that has managed to dodge the spotlight on her sexuality for her entire career.
For years, rumours and speculation followed her, but she never spoke out. When her U.S. women’s teammate Megan Rapinoe came out, many of her loyal lesbian fans expected her to do the same. But she didn’t.
It wasn’t until her 2013 marriage to Sarah Huffman that she even broached the subject openly, and the wedding was done with little fanfare.
In speaking candidly in a recent New York Times article, Wambach explained why:
I never felt like I had to have this huge party for myself about my sexuality. To make a party for something that I think of as normal, for me, that just didn’t seem authentic. I wanted it to be as normal as possible.”
According to the article, Wambach added that she wanted to show that a same-sex marriage could be as typical and routine as a heterosexual one. She also explained how her attention shifted from soccer to soccer and family:
I’ll be honest. After I got married, I definitely had a shift in emotional devotion. Forever, it was just soccer — passion, life, love. Then I got married, and I had to transfer some of my energy. I want to be my best for my country, but I also made a really big promise and choice to be the best in my marriage. That has not always been the easiest thing to manage.”
This summer may very well be Wambach’s last chance to go for gold at the Women’s World Cup.
Even though she never intended to make a bold statement regarding her sexuality, the entire world will be watching her.