Rower and swimmer excited for the Outgames

The 2009 World Outgames kick off with the Opening Ceremony in Copenhagen on Saturday, July 25. As the clock ticks down on training for the anticipated 8,000 sporting participants, writer Ross Forman will be profiling Outgames athletes over the next six months in a new continuing series: The Outgames Athletes.

Joe Alfano, Rowing Heidi Madsen, Swimming
Joe Alfano made his competitive rowing debut in 1998, at the Gay Games in Amsterdam.

"I've been hooked on rowing ever since," said Alfano, a Minneapolis resident who will be 50 when he heads to Copenhagen, Denmark, in July for the 2009 World Outgames.

"I won two medals at the first World Outgames (in 2006) in Montreal, in the master's single and master's double, with my partner. The only time we row together is for a race."

Alfano is an emergency physician for Fairview Healthcare.

"I enjoyed the Gay Games and the first World Outgames," he said. "I want to visit Copenhagen. I love to travel. I get to row with incredibly hot guys on my team; they're the ones you should profile."

HIGH SCHOOL: The Nichols School in Buffalo, N.Y., class of 1978

COLLEGE: Williams College

HOBBIES: Rowing, Photography, Travel, Gardening, Cooking, Italian language and culture

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF
: "Well, pretty much everything about me is little known."

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE OUTGAMES: "Win all of our races. I will compete in singles events, doubles, fours and quads.

WHAT SEPARATES YOU FROM OTHER OUTGAMES PARTICIPANTS: "My teammates are young and gorgeous."

WILL WE EVER SEE AN OPENLY-GAY ATHLETE IN ONE OF THE FOUR MAJOR SPORTS, AND IF SO, WHEN: "Yes, within 10 years."

THE OUTGAMES WILL BE A SUCCESS FOR ME ... "If I train hard, race well, and have fun."
A former college rugby player, Heidi Madsen won't be on the pitch at the 2009 World Outgames in Denmark this July, but rather, in the water.

She will be swimming, just as she now does for the Ohio Splash Masters Swim Team.

Madsen, 37, lives in Columbus, Ohio, and her lesbian partner is Sue B. Gahn.

"I strongly believe in the mission of (the Gay Lesbian International Sport Association) GLISA that bringing people together for sport (and human rights) can change the world. I also love to travel and have never been to Copenhagen," said Madsen, who is a technology project manager for JPMorgan Chase.

Madsen was a silver medal winner at the 2002 Gay Games and at the 2006 Outgames in Montreal in the 100-meter breast stroke

HIGH SCHOOL: Lake Catholic in Mentor Ohio, class of 1989

COLLEGE: The Ohio State University, class of 1994 (BSCIS ENG)

FAVORITE PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAM(S): "Enjoy watching any good game."

HOBBIES: Drag King Performer, Artist, Writer, Skiing, International Travel, Gender Rights Activist, HIV/AIDS Activist, Leadership Training

LITTLE KNOWN FACT: "Drag king performer is a little known fact for people in my professional life."

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE OUTGAMES
: "To attend the human rights conference and to medal in 100m breast stroke."

WHAT SEPARATES YOU FROM OTHER OUTGAMES PARTICIPANTS: "Woman athlete, my equal interest in the human rights conference part of this event, drag king performer."

DEDICATING OR PARTICIPATING IN THE OUTGAMES FOR ANYONE OR ON BEHALF OF ANYONE: "For all people suffering from a deficiency of basic human rights."

THE OUTGAMES WILL BE A SUCCESS FOR ME
..."because I am participating in an event that is changing the world!"
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