• Photo for Real Athlete: Triathlete and volleyballer Tim Holbrook
    Photo Credit: courtesy of the Gay Games VII

Real Athlete: Triathlete and volleyballer Tim Holbrook

By Gay Games VII Staff

Real Athlete is an ongoing series of interviews with inspirational, out gay athletes from around the world. Are you a Real Athlete? Take our Real Athlete Survey.

Law professor Timothy Holbrook, 34, hopes to school his fellow triathletes or fail his beach volleyball opponents. This Chicago native gears up for two fierce competitions in Gay Games VII.

What’s your goal for the Gay Games?
I am far too competitive to say that I am not hoping to do well, but a week of tough, fun competition is key.

How long have you been playing your sport?
I’ve been playing beach volleyball for 15 years. I started competing in triathlons five years ago.

What role has/does sports/cultural performance play in your life? How much time per week?
Sports play an enormous part of my life. I workout six times a week. I’m always running or biking. I play in volleyball leagues (indoors or beach ) year round.

What are some of your sports highlights?
I have won a few beach tournaments and quite a few North American Gay Volleyball Association sanctioned tournaments. My indoor team took fifth at the National Championships in BB volleyball one year. In triathlons, I took third in my age group this past summer and completed a half-Ironman triathlon.

Have you or a loved one ever had to overcome a serious injury, medical condition or illness that disrupted or challenged your athletic or performing interests?
I herniated a disk in my back in March 2001. I could barely walk and was crawling around my apartment. It took about a year to recover, although I have chronic lower back problems. The back was also a contributing factor to a partial tear in the tendon in my right foot, which had me in a boot for a month. Over that time, I put on about 25 pounds. I have lost all that weight over the last one-and-a-half years. I’m back to the times I was running before my back injury. In fact, I knocked 10 minutes off of my triathlon time this year—a pretty big jump (from 2 hours 48 minutes to 2 hours 38 minutes)!

What prompted you to come out or stay in the closet? Please describe that experience for you.
I was a “late bloomer.” I came out when I was 26, but this issue was always my view of myself, not what others thought. After coming out, I pretty much burst out of the closet. I told my family within the year. I was out at work. I now view it as form of activism. I am out at the law school where I am a professor to hopefully give students a role model as well as a safe zone.