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Road to the Gay Games

Out athlete was late bloomer in swimming

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Lindsey Warren-Shriner, DCAC, District of Columbia Aquatics Club, gay news, Washington Blade, gay games
Lindsey Warren-Shriner, DCAC, District of Columbia Aquatics Club, gay news, Washington Blade, gay games

Lindsey Warren-Shriner says the daily routine of swimming has been a good discipline for her. (Photo by Kevin Majoros)

This week in the continuing series on the LGBT athletes of Washington who will be competing at the 2014 Cleveland/Akron Gay Games, we visit with swimmer Lindsey Warren-Shriner of the District of Columbia Aquatics Club.

Warren-Shriner was recently awarded the Rick Meier Windes Memorial Award in recognition of excellence in distance swimming for her performance at the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics Championships in Seattle in 2013.

 

WASHINGTON BLADE:  What is your swimming background?

LINDSEY WARREN-SHRINER:  I took an introduction to competitive swimming class during the fall of my (high school) freshman year to fulfill my P.E. requirement and tried out for the varsity swim team that winter and didn’t make it. I took the class again during the fall of my sophomore year and made the team that winter.

That first year, I was one of the slowest swimmers and didn’t even compete with the team at championships. By my senior year, I had started to focus on distance events and dropped more than 30 seconds from my 500-yard freestyle time in one season. That led to me talking to swim coaches as I visited colleges, which was not something I would have expected even a year earlier.

I went on to swim for Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania for two years and then transferred to Bowdoin College in Maine, in part because they had a phenomenal swim program.   I have been swimming with DCAC since I graduated and moved to D.C. almost four years ago, and I have also done several triathlons and open water races.

 

BLADE:  Did you play any other sports growing up?

WARREN-SHRINER:  I did a lot — soccer, basketball, softball and tennis — and was really bad at all of them. I definitely wasn’t great when I started swimming either, but I liked it from the beginning and was more motivated to get better than I had been with any other sport.

 

BLADE: What events will you compete in at the Gay Games?

WARREN-SHRINER:  I’ll be doing all of the distance events — the 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle events and the 400-meter individual medley.

 

BLADE:  What will your training regimen consist of leading up to the Gay Games?

WARREN-SHRINER:  I usually go to six or seven DCAC practices a week. I don’t really like going to the gym so I stick with swimming. We practice for an hour and a half and I usually end up swimming almost 4,000 yards a day. We also have one night a week where we have a distance-oriented workout which is good preparation for the events I swim.

 

BLADE:  What is it about swimming that keeps you in the sport?

WARREN-SHRINER: Since I started swimming competitively much later than most of my college teammates, I wasn’t ready to stop swimming when I graduated. I found a great team in DCAC that has motivated me to keep swimming in the almost four years that I have been living here. All of my closest friends in D.C. are swimmers and I love to still have the routine of going to practice every day. While I was fortunate to have had incredibly supportive teammates and coaches as an out athlete in college, being on an LGBT team and a part of that community here has definitely kept me in the sport of swimming as well.

 

BLADE: Any embarrassing swimming stories to share?

WARREN-SHRINER: At the conference championships in my junior year of college, each team had a few high-tech racing suits that got passed around for each of the swimmer’s best events. The suits were extremely tight and impossible to put on without help.

When it was time for me to put the suit on before I swam the 1,650-yard freestyle, my teammates put plastic bags around my feet to get the suit over my ankles, and four of my teammates literally pulled the suit up my legs half an inch at a time while I stood, not helping at all, in the locker room. It was completely ridiculous but I ended up having a great race!

 

BLADE: Have you been to the Gay Games? What are you most looking forward to at the Gay Games?

WARREN-SHRINER: I have never been to the Gay Games, but I have gone to two IGLA championships with DCAC. I love traveling and competing with the team and I am particularly excited for the Gay Games since it is so much bigger than IGLA. I am very excited to be competing at such a big event for LGBT athletes and representing one of the largest LGBT swim teams in the world.

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Las Vegas Raiders head coach resigns after homophobic emails surface

Discovery made during misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team

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Courtesy of ESPN

LAS VEGAS — The head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jon Gruden resigned his post Monday after an article in the New York Times reported that he frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the National Football League, (NFL).

The emails were discovered in a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team the Times reported, but ended up costing Gruden his job when they also showed Gruden denounced the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem among other issues.

In a statement released by the team late Monday, Gruden said; “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

The sequence of events started last Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to the Washington team’s former executive Bruce Allen.

According to the Associated Press, Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when Gruden was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.

A league source confirmed the accuracy of the emails to the Associated Press and said they were sent to the Raiders last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t made the emails public.

The New York Times and the Associated Press both noted that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Gruden’s abrupt resignation was announced live on the Colts/Ravens “Monday Night Football” broadcast when the NFL ran multiple LGBTQ-inclusive advertisements, including one featuring an NFL logo wrapped in the colors of the Trans Flag and Rainbow Flag Gay City News Editor Matt Tracy reported.

Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement which only said that he accepted Gruden’s resignation. In a separate statement the Raiders announced that special teams and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia will serve as Interim Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, effective immediately.

“Coach Bisaccia will meet with the media at the regularly scheduled media availability on Wednesday,” the team said.

According to ESPN and the Associated Press, Bisaccia has been a special teams coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons with the Raiders, Chargers, Dallas and Tampa Bay. He has no head coaching experience but his elevation will allow other assistants in the Raiders organization such as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to stay in their current roles.

Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders head coach | SC with SVP

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New Zealand university names trans athlete ‘sportswoman of the year’

Laurel Hubbard is first out trans woman to compete in Olympics

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Screenshot via CBS Sports

DUNEDIN, New Zealand — Olympic weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was named “sportswoman of the year” at the prestigious 113-year-old University of Otago and OUSA Blues and Golds Awards event this past week.

The 43-year-old Queenstown, South Island, native was the first openly transgender woman to compete in an Olympics when she competed in the women’s 87kg weightlifting event at the 2021 Tokyo Games.

In a statement to the local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, Hubbard said she was ‘‘grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University.’’

‘‘It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha [a Māori word meaning “love”] of friends, family and supporters.

‘‘This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey,’’ she told the paper.

Hubbard’s participation at the Tokyo Games had provoked controversy as she had prepared for competing as the world’s first out transgender woman Olympian. The director of medicine and science for the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Richard Budgett, directly addressed those who had attacked and mocked the New Zealander and claimed she shouldn’t be competing with cisgender women, saying  “everyone agrees that trans women are women.”

“To put it in a nutshell,” he said, “the IOC had a scientific consensus back in 2015. There are no IOC rules or regulations around transgender participation. That depends on each international federation. So Laurel Hubbard is a woman, is competing under the rules of her federation and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games.”

Otago University Students’ Association president Michaela Waite-Harvey told the Otago Daily Times that the Blues awards aim to highlight Otago students excelling in their chosen sport.

‘‘We could think of no-one more worthy of sportswoman of the year than Laurel Hubbard who represented Otago and New Zealand incredibly well at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.’’

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Gold medalist Tom Daley battled COVID in hospital prior to Tokyo games

An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels

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Tom Daley (Photo by sportsphotographer.eu via Bigstock)

LONDON – British Olympic champion diver Tom Daley acknowledged in an recent interview with British newspaper The Times, that he had been secretly rushed to hospital seven months prior to the summer Tokyo Olympic games after contracting the coronavirus.

Daley told the paper “[my] lungs felt pressurised, as if they had sacks of rice around them”, and added: “Every time I stood up, I felt the room spinning and a blinding white light, as if I was going to faint, and as if I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my body.”

He went on to describe his ordeal in graphic details telling Times journalist Jane Mulkerrins that he gave specific instructions to his husband, screenwriter D. Lance Black one night as he headed off to sleep, what to do in the event he quit breathing.

He also told Mulkerrins he was frightened for their son Robbie if he and his husband both contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus, especially after he was rushed to hospital by ambulance unable to breath correctly.

When his head began to feel like it had “a vice tightening around it” and his “oxygen levels were dropping,” it was at that point Daley said he decided to call 111. [The UK’s emergency phone number]

‘My oxygen levels were dropping’

He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and put on oxygen. An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels, The Times reported.

“I understood how quickly things could potentially go downhill,” said Daley.

“I had flashes of fear about whether I would be put on a ventilator, and my time being up. I was really terrified.”

He also described his reasons for keeping his ordeal secret so that his rivals in his sport wouldn’t know.

The episode kept the Olympian diver out of training for nearly seven months although Daley along with his British teammate diving partner Matty Lee won the gold with a score of 471.81 in the men’s synchronized diving on at the Tokyo 2021 games.

After tough competition in the Men’s 10m platform diving from China’s Cao Yuan who picked up the Gold Medal and his teammate Yang Jian cinching the number two spot with a Silver Medal, the 27-year-old Daley secured a Bronze Medal win with a score of 548.25.

It was the second Olympic Bronze Medal for the Plymouth, England native, in individual diving completion since he won bronze at the London Games in 2012. Daley and his teammate Daniel Goodfellow won a Bronze Medal in the 10m synchronised at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

The Times interview comes as the paper’s magazine is serializing Daley’s new book, Coming Up for Air: What I Learned from Sport, Fame and Fatherhood, which is due to be published by Harper Collins on October 14.

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