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.

Barry Eisenberg, Running Sonya Jaquez Lewis, Tennis


Barry Eisenberg runs in the early-morning hours, often in the dark, near his home in Menlo Park, Calif. And that leads to one of his biggest fears: being attacked by a mountain lion when they come down from the hills in search of water.

Eisenberg, 50, an internal medicine physician, is training for the 2009 World Outgames in Copenhagen this July, where he will compete in multiple running events, including the half-marathon.

“Running is a passion,” Eisenberg said. “I love the connection I feel with the earth, my body, and the sounds and sensations of the world around me. I also love the competition and pushing myself to my limit. As I approached 50 [celebrated on Valentine’s Day 2009], I like to think it keeps me young as well. Running is also very much a part of my gay identity.”

He came out during the 2006 Gay Games and Outgames.

“I remember thinking how much I would love to be a part of gay athletics and participate in those events. Shortly thereafter I joined the San Francisco Frontrunners and have been ‘Running to the Rainbow’ ever since,” he said. “I would like to place in the half-marathon in my age group, but just competing to the best of my ability will be rewarding.”

His best time in the half-marathon is 1:23, run at the 2006 Big Sur Half Marathon. He placed second in the 2007 San Francisco Pride Run in the 40-50 age-group.


Blind Brook High School (Rye Brook, NY), Class of 1977

COLLEGE: Oberlin College (Oberlin, Ohio), Class of 1981

STATUS: Gay, dating Ed Babin.

FAVORITE PRO ATHLETE: Paula Radcliffe, “because she has had stunning success and heart- breaking failure, and seems to keep it all in perspective.”

HOBBIES: Theatre, country western dancing, traveling, and endurance sports of all kinds.

SUPERSTITIONS: “Don’t drink before a race. I broke that once and ran my fastest marathon.”

WHAT SEPARATES YOU FROM OTHER OUTGAMES PARTICIPANTS: “Maybe my age, maybe the fact that I have recently come out, maybe that I have a 13-year-old daughter. Perhaps none of the above. We all have our own wonderful stories.”

OVERCOME ANY MAJOR OBSTACLES: “This past year has seen injury after injury. As if hitting 50 and running were not compatible. I am finally on a path to regaining my stride and am crossing my fingers that nothing happens before my trip to Copenhagen.”

ARE YOU DEDICATING, OR PARTICIPATING IN, THE OUTGAMES FOR ANYONE OR ON BEHALF OF ANYONE: “I am running in the memory of my father, with love for my daughter, and to represent the San Francisco Frontrunners.”

(Complete This Sentence) THE OUTGAMES WILL BE A SUCCESS FOR ME … “No matter what happens. Just participating is what it is about for me.”

Sonya Lewis and Allison Lotspeich are partners on and off the tennis court.

The Colorado couple will be in Copenhagen this summer for the 2009 World Outgames, with memories of their tennis performance from the 2006 Outgames in Montreal lingering in their minds.

You see, they captured third-place in their division, but Montreal organizers did not give medals for third place.

“We hope to actually win a medal this time around,” Lewis said.

Lewis, a pharmacist, will be 52 when the Outgames kick off on Saturday, July 25.

She was the first woman to run for Student Body President at the largest University in North Carolina, UNC, and (the school) was established in 1789. In 2008, she was the first out lesbian ever elected as a delegate from Colorado to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

“I love meeting people from all over the world and through friendly athletic competition, you can make connections and relationships that can be life-long,” Lewis said. “We want to play hard and do well (in Copenhagen), and hopefully win a gold medal.”

Lewis also has played in the Lesbian and Gay Bands of America (LGBA) Opening Ceremonies at the New York Gay Games. In 1984, she founded the North Carolina LGBT Pride marching Band that still exists today and plays in Gay Games and sporting events all around the South.


COLLEGE: University of North Carolina

FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM: “My alma mater, UNC. The men and women’s (basketball) teams will be NCAA National Champs this year.”

FAVORITE PRO ATHLETE: Martina Navratilova, “the greatest women’s tennis player in history.”

HOBBIES: “I’m a drum slut. I play drums in rock ‘n roll bands and West African ensembles. Also enjoy horseback riding at our ranch and politics. I hope to run for office someday.”

SUPERSTITIONS: “I have never cut my hair.”

WHAT SEPARATES YOU FROM OTHER OUTGAMES PARTICIPANTS: “I hope to play my sport, tennis, in six out of the seven continents in the world. I would try for Antarctica, but I hear they don’t have a court there.”

DEDICATING OR PARTICIPATING IN THE OUTGAMES FOR ANYONE OR ON BEHALF OF ANYONE: “I have several friends who cannot go this year because of the recession so I’ll be sending messages back to our tennis team and supporters in Colorado.”

(Complete This Sentence) THE OUTGAMES WILL BE A SUCCESS FOR ME … “If we play the best we can and meet folks from all over the world, and enjoy the wonderful host city of Copenhagen.”

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