The third winner of the Curdin Orlik wins the network Award has been found: With the gay swinger Curdin Orlik, the Networkers chose a strong LGBTI ambassador in the heteronormative world of top-class sport.
As a swinger, Curdin Orlik is used to winning rounds in the sawdust. But for once, the 30-year-old from Graubünden did not win a final round, but a ballot: with just over 55 % of the votes, Curdin clearly prevailed over the two other network Award candidates. QueerUp Radio achieved exactly 25 % of all votes, the Mythengay association just under 20 %. A total of 276 networkers exercised their right to vote; eight people could not vote because the link could not be delivered via SurveyMonkey.
The media described Curdin’s coming out exactly three years ago as “historic”. He is indeed the first top athlete in the country to have dared to take this step – and that, nota bene, in what is probably the most Swiss of all sports. “This step gives me the opportunity to live openly and freely and no longer have to hide,” Curdin wrote on his Facebook account at the time.
But the power of this coming out goes far beyond Curdin himself: it encourages other LGBTI athletes to live their true identity openly. Curdin is a pioneer and role model at the same time. And he is aware of this role: last year he signed a declaration for more inclusion and diversity in Bern and said that he wanted to “normalise homosexuality in sport”.
Award ceremony at EuroGames?
There is also something “historic” about the way Curdin Orlik won the network Award – even if the history of this prize admittedly does not go back quite as far as that of the wrestling sport. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that never before has a nominee received so many votes and achieved the absolute majority. And he is the first individual to receive the prize of 10,000 Swiss francs; the two previous winners are the ABQ School Project (2021) and Queeramnesty (2022). In your election there were four nominees each time, this time there were three.
Last but not least, voter turnout was at an all-time high of 52.1%. In 2021 it was 49.2 % and in 2022 51.3 %. This continuous increase of course pleases board member Jan Scharf from the Award Commission. “It shows that the award in its current form has established itself among networkers,” says Jan. “It’s a democratic election with a great result.”
He was pleased that in the year of the EuroGames in Bern, an outed athlete had won the race. It is even possible that the award ceremony will take place within the framework of this major LGBTI sporting event – after all, Curdin Orlik is also an official ambassador of the EuroGames.