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.
He may be an actor by profession, but when 49-year-old Rand Smith takes to swimming, biking and running, it’s all real. Overcoming serious injury, this former World Champion sees gold in his future.
What is your goal for Gay Games Chicago 2006?
I’m going for gold. I was World Champion in 2000.
Do you or your team have any rivals?
Anyone in my age group is a rival and a friend.
How long have you been playing your sport? What role does it play in your life?
I’ve been doing triathalons for 16 years. I centered my life around triathlon at one time, then I was injured and now I am coming back! My training time varies. I work out at least one hour per day every day and that is increasing to two to three hours.
What do you consider your main achievements or accomplishments, whether in your sport or otherwise?
I was the US National Champion Triathlete in 1999, World Champion Triathlete in 2001 and Ironman USA in 2001.
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?
Yes, I injured my hands (thumbs) by overuse as a Physical Therapist and had four surgeries to my hands to try to repair the damage starting in 2002. I lost 50 percent of my hand function and am just now, after several pre-mature starts, getting back to my former level of fitness and competition. The Gay Games VII will be a sort of triumphal return to triathlon and a celebration of my “out” status. I wasn’t out when I was competing as a triathlete five years ago.
What prompted you to come out or stay in the closet? Please describe that experience for you..
It was my own personal evolution.
Interview courtesy of the Gay Games VII organizers. For more information about this year's Gay Games and how you can participate, visit www.chicagogaygames.org.