Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird's story: From love at first sight at the Olympics to THAT nude photograph

They became the first same-sex pair to strip down for the empowering cover of ESPN The Magazine's ‘Body Issue’


                            Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird's story: From love at first sight at the Olympics to THAT nude photograph
Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird (Getty Images)

Soccer player Megan Rapinoe and basketball player Sue Bird are engaged! 40-year-old Bird revealed the news on Friday, October 30 evening sharing a picture of the proposal on Instagram. The post shows the WNBA champion, Bird, standing in an infinity pool looking out over the ocean as Rapinoe, 35, kneels on the pool's edge, appearing to place a ring on her parter’s finger. The moment was beautifully captured and the two sportswomen looked cheerful in the photo
 
As the news dropped, congratulations started pouring in for the revered players. US Soccer WNT tweeted, “Absolutely, positively to see it! Congrats @mPinoe and @S10Bird!” A user wrote, “Congrats to Megan Rapinoe & Sue Bird!” 



 



 

Since Bird revealed the two were dating, the Seattle sports stars became a celebrated couple among the LGBTQ community. Bird is a three-time WNBA champion, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, a three-time FIBA World Champion, and holds two NCAA titles at UConn. Rapinoe has an equally great resume that boasts of an Olympic gold medal, two Women’s World Cup titles and a 2005 NCAA title.

While much is known about their professional life, let's look back to their love life and why they are a celebrated couple.

How love bloomed

Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird started dating in 2016 after meeting at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In 2016, Rapinoe had time to see other events due to a knee injury. With extra time on their hands, she and a few of her teammates devoted their time to gleefully cheer for Bird in her match at the 2016 Rio Olympic games. At an after-party celebrating the basketball team's victory, "Sue's friends say that she (Rapinoe) lingered around the table” where Bird was sitting.

It wasn't until they were back home in the Evergreen State that two of the great athletes got to know each other more closely. It started with Rapinoe sliding into Bird's DMs before the latter's 2017 ESPNW Women and Sports Summit. "Our team had just worn the black shirts and kind of made a stand, if you will," Bird elaborated at the 2017 ESPNW Women and Sports Summit of their protest in the wake of deaths of Black men and women. "We were chatting about that." Soon, they were texting about any number of things, said Bird, "and the rest was history."

(L-R) Russell Wilson, Ciara, Megan Rapinoe, and Sue Bird (Getty Images)

After that, the couple officially announced their relationship in 2017. While Rapinoe had been public about romances she'd shared with Australian soccer player Sarah Walsh and Seattle musician Sera Cahoone, Bird had been the reserved one. She reportedly never felt the need to mention her private life."I kinda always felt like I am out, for all intents and purposes. So I always came from the standpoint of, 'Why does writing it in an article or saying it in an article make me gay?'" she mentioned as reported by E Online. "That doesn't make me gay or not. I'm living my life, I'm not lying, I don't hide it."

After being in a relationship with Rapinoe, Bird mentioned how the former helped in changing her perspective on opening about personal identity. "Megan and I would have conversations about it, and she opened my eyes to another way of looking at it, which is that in today's time, in today's society, it's still important to kind of say it to make it the norm." "I'm gay. Megan's my girlfriend. ... These aren't secrets to people who know me” she finally said as reported by ESPN in 2017. 

Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm celebrates with Megan Rapinoe after winning the WNBA Championship (Getty Images)

After the couple went public about their love life, Rapinoe moved into Bird's place in the city's Queen Anne neighborhood in 2018. To everyone’s amazement, the couple became the first same-sex pair to strip down for the empowering cover of ESPN The Magazine's ‘Body Issue’. "I think neither of us really wants to just do things and be like, 'We're the gay couple.' But to have this really unique vehicle to actually do that, to celebrate who we are in our sport, but also the fact that we'll be the first gay couple, is pretty special," Rapinoe stated. "It's pretty amazing to think about, especially in the times we're in. Just think of how far we've come, but also the current climate and defiance in the face of that. Not only are we female athletes, but we're dating as well. It's kind of badass."

Bird agreed with Rapinoe and said, “Yeah, I think it'll probably be even more badass later. A year, five years, 10 years, 20 years, to look back and be like, ‘Oh, they were the first openly gay couple to be on the cover, to be in the issue.’” The cover heralds openness and acceptance of identity. Mentioning the cover, Rapinoe said, “I think it's important to do these things first. It's important for people to come out. Visibility is important. It's important for there to be a first one on the cover [of the Body Issue], or whatever. Just in terms of the culture and society, someone has to do it.”

(Getty Images)

In 2019, the pair’s love was everywhere on social media, and not just them but even the fans embraced their relationship. Rapinoe posted a picture in July 2019 of the pair captioned as, “She’s always the best part.” In the picture, the pair is in black and white suit and holding hands while gushing and clicking picture against a mirror.

People reported in 2019 about the strong bond that the pair shares where they both are "huge fans of each other." "I think it is just the understanding of what we have to go through and the appreciation of, you know, each other’s skills and lives is really special," Rapinoe said. "And in the same sense, we are just normal to each other. Which is really nice. Like, neither of us are like, ‘Oh wow you are the best person that has ever played basketball.’ Which she is!"

Rapinoe, who played on Seattle's OL Reign at that time, added how it's nice to be with someone who understands life as an athlete. “It is nice to just be able to totally unwind and be completely yourself and, you know, have someone understand and appreciate how special it is, what you are doing, but also just love you for who you are and just to be that kind of support system,” the World Cup champ said. “Honestly, it’s really nice.”

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