Never Too Old To Jump In…
This is an article not just about two openly gay male swimmers, it is also about two of the oldest men making their way into the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012. You have to understand that the Olympics are tough, however, they do not hold a candle to the competitive nature of the U.S. Olympic trials. Brian Jacobsen and Jeff Commings (pictured on the cover of his new autobiography) are both 37-year-old gay men, which puts them at the top of the age bracket to ever swim in this competitive arena.
I won’t bore you with the details of how fast these two are, but know that their swim times are incredibly fast. Recording breaking fast in fact. This is a story of two men that perpetually strive for excellence.
Brian Jacobsen began competitively swimming at the age of six through high school and two years at Stanford. He came out to his dorm in his sophomore year but not his homophobic team. After a 5-year burn out stint he found his way back into the pool with a gay masters group in ’99. Brian rediscovered his courage and the will to compete again. So much so that he now sits at the cusp of making history. He appears to lead a regular life out of the pool and works at the University of Minnesota in the MBA admissions program.
Jeff Commings is another great story. He is not only a swimmer, he is also black. Swimming has historically been a straight white male sport. Jeff doesn’t just crack this mold, he has shattered tradition. He is a gay, black swimmer making history as one of the oldest men in the sport.
These two men are showing the world that age has nothing to do with excellence. Being gay has nothing to do with greatness. Being a driven human being is priceless.
Not much media attention has been garnered to these two individuals. I hope being gay is not the reason. I believe they will get their due respect in the mainstream media as we near the 2012 Olympic trials.
Both of these men exude the courage and the drive to never give up on their dreams. It’s never too late to “get back into the pool.” As 2011 draws to an end and a New Year dawns it may be time for each of us to jump into our own deep end of the pool and see just what we are made of.
As the world appears to be getting tougher in some aspects it is time we find our own inner drive to succeed. If two of the oldest men in U.S. Olympic trial history can do it surely we can follow their lead. As my own triathlon season is staring me down, I too must look inward and focus on honing my own abilities. This is a time to reflect on the past but more importantly look to our future. Self improvement never comes easy but the rewards last a lifetime.
Spokes is a Richmonder and resident of Virginia for 10 years. He is a small business owner with a passion for outdoor activities - competing in numerous triathlons, sprints, olympics and half ironman distances.
With the hype surrounding Russia’s anti-gay laws, one may have missed that the Sochi 2014 Olympics have started. They have indeed begun, and have become the platform for a number of supporters of the LGBTQ community to show their discontent with the Russian government despite strict local laws and rules in the Olympic Charter. The [...]February 12, 2014
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