Triathlete Kate Rowe is one of three finalists in the Athlete of the Year competition held by American GLBT sporting publication Sports Out Loud.

As a board member for the Federation of Gay Games, champion triathlete and general advocate for the sporting way of life, Rowe says that winning the title would not just be an accolade for her, but for alternative lifestyles within the GLBT community.

It was the 1994 Gay Games that reinvigorated Rowe’s passion for sport.

It was just such a magical experience to be there with 10,000 other gay and lesbian sportspeople. It definitely triggered my competitiveness and it was just a great experience, Rowe told Sydney Star Observer.

It was a reaffirmation of my choice of lifestyle, in terms of my sexuality as well as my ability as a sportswoman.

With the burning passion alight again, it was the upcoming event of her 50th birthday which inspired Rowe to take on a triathlon.

I’d been cycling for 20 years and I’d been sick for a few months so I wanted to do something for my 50th so I decided to do a triathlon, she said.

I came third in my first race and I just fell in love with it. From there I went on to do Iron Men and just wanted to get to the world championships, which I did last year.

Besides this, Rowe has worked with the Gay Games ever since that initial experience in 1994, volunteering in Sydney and now serving as a member on the Board as well as working to assist Team Sydney over the years. Her credentials are definitely impressive and she clearly fits the competition’s criteria of being a person of achievement and great commitment to the GLBT sporting community.

If she were to win though, Rowe says, it would not so much be about me. I mean sure, I’d love to have it under my belt, though I’m sure there are people who are more worthy, but getting it would just be a way of supporting those gay and lesbian people who play sport. It would show that there is an alternative lifestyle approach to just hitting the bar scene.

The winners of the competition will be announced in the next issue of Sports Out Loud, which comes out in the States at the end of this month.

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