Gay Cycling Champ Warns Athletes to Stay in the Closet
BY Andi Alexander
August 30 2011 1:45 PM ET
Gay cyclist Scotsman Graeme Obree warns other sports stars to keep quiet about their sexuality, despite being out himself.
In January, Obree, 45 years old and a divorced father of two, told The Scottish Sun that he was gay. While he was widely applauded for his honesty after living a straight life for years, he now says it is better to remain in the closet.
"I don't think being gay and an a active sportsman is a good thing," said Obree. "You need to be retired first. Even now I wouldn't do coaching because it's still an awkward situation."
He also advised gay SPL football players to hide their sexual preference out of fear of teammates. "You'd always be worrying if other people were thinking, 'Is he checking me out?'" Obree said.
Before his honesty about his sexuality, he struggled with depression, and attempted suicide twice. After coming out, he now rides his sparkling Pinkbike bicycle.
Obree said that although he was flooded with letters of support when he came out, people would now "rather talk about cycling, which is great."
"I still love my ex-wife Anne to bits, she is an amazing person and is my best friend," said Obree, "I am floating along in my own single life. I like being out on my bike, that's all I need right now."
Obree, from Ayrshire, caught his claim to fame in 1993 when he broke the world hour record using a bike built from washing machine parts. He then continued to win the individual pursuit at the world championships twice.
Obree will be competing in the freshnlo Pedal For Scotland cycling festival on September 11.