The list... queer athletes

JOSH DARE screams, “Kick it to me! Kick to me!”

Ian Roberts (Rugby)
Ian Roberts, as you no doubt are aware, is held in high regards as the first Australian sportsman to come out of the closet, and from such a butch sport like rugby too. So, as all the ‘still in the closet’ butch sportsmen are probably wondering: how did it affect his career? Well, they’ll have to keep wondering, as he did after his professional retirement in 1998. However, he did receive tremendous support from even beyond the football grave in the guise of The Footy Show team. He went on to study at NIDA and has a role in the current blockbuster Superman Returns – which probably didn’t help those pesky ‘the new Superman is gay’ rumours any.

Ji Wallace (Trampoline)
And one of only a few Australian Olympians to ever come out (and within this publishing house’s titles, thank you very much) was none other than Brisbane boy Ji Wallace – or Jumpin’ Ji Wallace, as he’s known about the traps. Well, tramps, really; him being a trampolinist and all. After winning gold in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Ji retired from the mat and planned to peruse aerial skiing, but did a double back flip somersault and is now gearing up for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Guess Slidin’ Down A Ramp Wearing Two Planks Of Wood Ji Wallace didn’t have the same ring.

Pat Patterson (Wrestling)
In the red corner, standing at 6”3 and weighing in at 111kg is ‘Pretty Boy’ Pat Patterson. While it’s no secret that wrestling may well be the sport of the latent homosexual, when this effeminate wrestler debuted to Canadian fans in 1958 wearing red lipsticks and pink trunks – and accompanied by his pet poodle – he not only ripped the closet door off, but whacked his opponent over the head with it in a finely choreographed manoveure. And that’s no exaggeration; he was by no means a push over: early in his career his nickname was ‘Killer’, and he often wore a mask during matches – if only so he could cheat by placing foreign objects underneath to add power to his head butts. Still, the ballsy announcer, Jim Ross, made remarks like “he's single, fellas” and “that is the largest man that has ever been on top of Pat Patterson”. He now owns a set of Volvo and Suzuki automobile dealerships in Memphis.

Andrew Goldstein (Lacrosse)
Lacrosse, if you don’t know it, is that sport where all the players have little cups on the end of their sticks to chuck the ball around. And darned if I didn’t know it before right now, but there’s Major League Lacross in the states; and it has its own gay athlete in the form of 23-year-old Andrew Goldstein. This champion goal-keeper been dubbed by ESPN as “the most accomplished male, team-sport athlete in North America to be openly gay during his playing career.” This should come as no surprise, as his grandfather was a champion lacrosse goaltender, as are his brother and sister – so thankfully, the bloodline need not stop with Andrew.

Bob Paris (Bodybuilding)
Frankly, the fact that a bodybuilder remained in the closet surprises me, but turns out all that oiling of bodies and flexing of parts unspeakable couldn’t draw American Bob Paris until he’d been an International Federation of Bodybuilders professional, 1983’s Mr Universe and a model. He came out in July 1989’s issue of Ironman magazine, presumably to reach the largest gay audience possible. The story didn’t start that year though; it all started in 1985 when our bodybuilding hero met his life partner, ex-Playgirl model Rod Jackson, while working out a gym… OK, I have to stop; the level of perfection is making me sick.

Greg Louganis (Diving)
Maybe it was due to his surname unfortunately rhyming with ‘anus’, but after coming out in 1994, Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis experienced something every diver fears and trains against: back splash. All his sponsors dropped him faster than a rock, except one – Speedos, who are still with him today. Not that he spends much time in the pool by all accounts; he now favours dog-breeding and writing books about dog-breeding. The hot gay swimmer in Speedos photos were awesome while they lasted though, weren’t they?

John Curry (Figure skating)
Sometimes, you just have to throw your hands up in the air and surrender to stereotypes of gay athletes. Such as Britian’s famous figure skater, John Curry – after longing to become a dancer as a child (much to his father’s disappointment), he turned to figure skating and set the profession alight by combing ballet and modern dance influences with skating. He won Olympic titles for his efforts, and BBC Sport’s Personality of the Year in 1976. Once his professional career faded, he turned his hand at performance dance but with a diva twist, with many finding him impossible to work with him, and hence not bothering, so he rarely performed. He only spoke openly about his homosexuality in 1991 as he was dying of AIDS, in the only true home of any gay man – his mother’s arms.