German cycling champions become Gay Games ambassadors
Olympic Medalists and Partners are the Latest Internationally Renowned Athletes Supporting the Gay Games
June 07, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO — Petra Rossner and Judith Arndt of Germany, Olympic medalists and international cycling stars, have become the latest world class athletes to join the Gay Games Ambassadors Program, officials of the Federation of Gay Games announced today.
Judith Arndt (left) kisses partner Petra Rossner
"We are both really pleased to get the opportunity to support the Gay Games as Ambassadors," said Arndt, after recently completing several months of training with Nuernberger Versicherung in preparation for the 2005 professional season.
Arndt's and Rossner's sport has been a part of every Gay Games from the beginning in 1982, when cyclo-cross and road races were held. In July 2006, at Gay Games VII in Chicago, cycling competitions will be held in criterium, mountain biking, road race and time trials.
Already a supporter of the Sydney Gay Games in 2002, Rossner said, "It's our goal to bring the Gay Games to the world's attention, to get more people to know about this event and the whole idea behind the Gay Games. Knowing that cycling has always been a big part only makes us happier to tell people about the Gay Games."
Rossner, 38, recently ended a stunning 20-year professional cycling career, including 25 German national titles, 10 World Cup victories, an Olympic gold medal in the pursuit at Barcelona in 1992 and a world championship win in the pursuit at Stuttgart in 1991. She was the World Cup Series Champion in 2002. Perhaps her most outstanding achievement was winning seven of the last eight editions of the Liberty Classic in Philadelphia. Recognized as a brilliant tactician, she is now the team director for Nuernberger Versicherung.
Arndt, 28, capped an outstanding 2004 season by winning the gold medal in the Elite women's road race and the silver time trial medal at the UCI world championships. Arndt's gold was the first win by a German woman in the world championship road race in more than 20 years.
At the Athens Summer Olympic Games two months earlier, Arndt won a silver medal in the women's road race and made headlines around the world for giving a one-finger salute as she crossed the finish line to the German cycling federation for leaving Rossner off the 2004 Olympic team. It was a gesture of solidarity for a teammate who Arndt believed could have helped propel one of the German cyclists to gold.
That Arndt and Rossner were in a committed relationship at the time was also reported, but Rossner's achievements made Arndt's protest compelling. Much of the international press printed the fact of their being live-in girlfriends almost as a sidelight to the incident itself, perhaps a sign that merely being gay or lesbian isn't enough in certain sport circles to generate headlines these days.
Arndt and her Nuernberger teammates are in the beginning stages of a season that will culminate in her attempt to defend her 2004 world championship road race title in Madrid this September. She and Rossner continue to work together professionally if not both still racing on the bike. Arndt said, "Petra is our team director now, which seems to be even more work than only pedaling in my eyes."
Both Rossner and Arndt have competed in Chicago and say the city's terrain and experience hosting cycling events will prove favorable for competitors of all skill levels at next year's Gay Games.
"Cycling is our first love, of course, but there is a sport for almost everyone at the Gay Games," said Rossner. "We can't think of a better goal to set than to get fit and take part in an event that does so much on behalf of the gay and lesbian community around the world."
Federation of Gay Games co-president Kathleen Webster praised Rossner's and Arndt's achievements and said, "We're honoured that Petra and Judith are becoming Ambassadors in the middle of their ongoing professional careers. Their openness and enthusiasm about the goals of the Gay Games are an inspiration and I'm sure will earn them many new fans."
For information about the Federation of Gay Games, go to www.gaygames.org. For information about Gay Games VII in Chicago in 2006, including details on how to register, go to www.GayGamesChicago.org.
– Issued by Federation of Gay Games
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