Gay Games profile: Paulette Meggoe, cycling

One in a series of first-person articles from athletes competing in the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne.

Paulette Meggoe
Bronx, NY

I have been an athlete ever since I was a child. I grew up with five brothers whom I had to always chase after. For a long time, I was the only girl in the bunch. I was taught at an early age how to be a fierce competitor by two of my brothers.

Being from the islands, my background is steeped in track and field. Sprints were my delight, even though I did compete in almost every sport at the meets. I reveled in the limelight of my local and regional competitions in "come-from-behind" wins. As I got older I taught myself to ride. My Sunday school teacher had borrowed my cousin's bike and she asked me to return it to him. I wanted to ride it back instead of walking. I crashed, of course, but no damage done and I was hooked. Living in the USA and participating in the Gay Games has helped me to realize a dream of mine. I was not ever going to be in the traditional Olympics. So being a part of the Gay Games would be my stage. To actually win a medal was a glorious moment. This will be my fifth Gay Games participating in cycling and for that I have won three gold, four silver and two bronze medals.

I think I bring certain uniqueness to the Games, as being likely the only black female cyclist (at the previous four Games, I have yet to see anther black female participating in cycling.) There have been black men, few as they are, but at the least their presence was noted.

I would like to see a concerted effort made to actively recruit more black females to the sport and these Gay Games.

I want to thank the Gay Games for allowing us athletes to have a stage to showcase our talents. Because even though it's not the mainstream traditional Olympics, it is for us, our glorified moment and it carries just as much prestige and pride.

This article was written by the athlete and sent to Outsports by Gay Games 2010. If you want to tell your story, send us an article and photo to: mail@outsports.com.

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