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West Point coach to compete at Outgames

28. May 2009
“Don’t ask, don’t tell “ may still be the official policy of the United States military, but Louis Tharp, swim coach of the triathlon team at the prestigious United States Military Academy, West Point, is out and coming to Copenhagen for World Outgames 2009.
West Point, where former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was educated, is the training ground for most of the U.S. Army’s leading officers.

In addition to coaching at West Point, Tharp, from Upper Nyack in New York, is the author of the "Overachiever's Diary, How the Army Triathlon Team Became World Contenders" (www.overachieversdiary.com).

Tharp will be competing in the swimming championships at World Outgames in Copenhagen and his place in the competition has a very special meaning.
 
“I’m dedicating my Outgames performances to all of the people who died of AIDS in the 1980’s while the disease was being ignored because it was a gay disease,” said Tharp.
 
“I’m sure there are many who could easily replace me on the medal stand if they were here today,” Tharp said.

Louis Tharp will be joined at World Outgames in Copenhagen by his life-partner Jim Bumgardner. 

 “Jim is very supportive. He takes splits and stroke counts at meets and puts up with early morning alarm clocks during practice weeks.” Tharp said.

In terms of what will be a success at Outgames, Tharp is very clear.

“The Outgames will be a success for me when Jim and I get on the plane to Copenhagen,” said Tharp

And he is just as clear about what comes next on that list.

“The most beautiful men in the world are in Denmark, so getting off the plane in Copenhagen and enjoying this natural beauty will be the second measure of success.”

Chicago-based sports writer Ross Forman contributed to this report.
SAS, Official airline of World Outgames 2009
Hivos, Dutch non-govermental organisation
Danish Year of Sport
Politiken, leading Danish newspaper
IBM
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