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‘World’s Strongest Gay’ retiring from professional strongman competition

Rob Kearney
Instagram @worlds_strongest_gay

Rob Kearney came out of the closet in 2014 when he started dating his now-husband.

The “world’s strongest gay” announced he is retiring from his career as a competitive professional strongman. Rob Kearney said he was fortunate to have had a successful career, but that it was time to move on to the next chapter in his life.

“I have been so fortunate to live the life I have as a Professional Strongman and honestly have achieved more in this sport than I could have ever dreamed,” Kearney posted to Instagram last week.

Kearney, 32, is currently participating in the 2024 World’s Strongest Man competition in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Kearney began his career in 2009 at the age of 17. He was a cheerleader at the time and took CrossFit training at the suggestion of a coach. While he wasn’t that good at CrossFit, he found he excelled at weight training, deadlifting 506 pounds on his first attempt while still in high school. He became a powerlifter in college and started competing as a strongman.

He went professional at the age of 21 after winning the 2013 North American Strongman National Championship.

A year later he came out of the closet when he started dating his now-husband, Joey Aleixo. He didn’t think it was fair to stay in the closet while dating an out gay man. The move generated a positive reaction within his sport as well as unexpected benefits for Kearney and the LGBTQ+ community.

“It kind of put me into the spotlight in a different way that I didn’t expect but was also excited to take on that challenge of really using my voice as a platform for LGBTQ+ visibility and underrepresented sports, like strength athletics,” Kearney told the local Sun News during a break from competition in Myrtle Beach.

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