Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-08-31
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Lou Tharp: Military Man
by Ross Forman
2007-11-28

This article shared 7036 times since Wed Nov 28, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


About five years ago, Lou Tharp was looking for a place to train in preparation for various international swimming meets. He went to The United States Military Academy at West Point, knowing that the Army has great facilities, and asked a colonel if he could work out there. She agreed.

And so started Tharp's association with the Army.

Tharp, who is openly gay, was training one day near a cadet with horrible form in the pool. Tharp offered to help the youngster, giving 30 minutes of free advice.

The cadet returned the next day with another cadet who also needed swimming tips.

And so started Tharp's association with the Army's swimmers.

During the 2006-07 season, Tharp was named the swimming coach for the Army's Triathlon Team, a group of 20 world-class athletes dedicated to becoming national champions. They compete in meets that consist of a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run.

The Army triathlon team finished fifth at the 2007 Collegiate Nationals.

'I never envisioned this [ job ] ,' said Tharp, who started swimming 11 years ago at age 45 to combat issues with weight gain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Tharp's swimming success has its roots in Total Immersion Swimming, a New York-based organization.

He passes his swimming tips to the cadets through word of mouth, of course, and through daily e-mails after every practice. Tharp just published Overachiever's Diary, a compilation of e-mails, thoughts and travels with the team. The book is a how-to for competitive or fitness swimmers, and details Tharp's sometimes unorthodox training methods that helped propel the team to international elite status.

'The primary purpose of the book is to let triathletes, particularly swimmers, know that the same kind of high-level training that is available to elite athletes is available to everyone,' Tharp said. 'You can participate in the same kind of training as world-class athletes.'

A portion of the sales of the book will be donated to the Army Triathlon Team, and Tharp said that portion will increase when LGBT soldiers are able to serve openly.

Ah, yes. The Army, of course, still practices Don't Ask Don't Tell, though being gay has never impacted Tharp at West Point. He made it clear from day one that he is gay and that he is not a supporter of the Army's stance toward and gays and lesbians.

Surprisingly, Tharp said his sexuality has 'never, ever' been an issue. And he even brings his partner to team functions.

'For a lot of the cadets, I think I am the first gay man they have ever known,' Tharp said. 'A lot of the senior-ranking officers who are my age … Many don't hate gay people; it's just that, for the majority of their lives, they've just heard negative things about gays and lesbians. As they get to know me, the anti-gay comments are just based on things they've heard. They are very, very accepting people. I have not met one person who has led me to believe that they were anything but very genuine in their relationship with me.'

Tharp said he has had cadets talk to him about being gay; however, none on the triathlon team has.

The 216-page book features more than 100 photos, taken by parents and team members. The Army refused his request to support the book, giving no explanation, but it didn't prevent him from publishing the book with the cooperation and support of the team. Tharp confirmed he already has started compiling material for a second book.

Tharp has competed in past Gay Games, including the 2006 events in Chicago, with one gold and two silver medals to his credit. In Chicago, he competed in five races.

'I walked away from the [ Chicago Games ] very happy,' Tharp said. 'The event was very, very competitive, and I was so impressed with the event overall.

'I really couldn't believe how pro-gay the city of Chicago is. It just blew me away.'

To order Tharp's book, go to: www.overachieversdiary.com .

Getting To Know

... Lou Tharp

Age: 56

Hometown: Nyack, N.Y.

Grew up in: Baltimore

College: Butler University, graduated in 1972

Status: Partnered for 24 years to Jim Bumgarden, 51

It's a fact: Endowed the first-ever scholarship at Butler for gay and lesbian students, starting in the fall of 2008.


This article shared 7036 times since Wed Nov 28, 2007
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chicago Bulls beat Jazz; Abreu leaves White Sox 2022-11-29
- In Salt Lake City on Nov. 28, the Chicago Bulls (9-11) beat the Utah Jazz (12-11) 114-107. The Bulls' DeMar DeRozan led the team with 26 points as the Jazz suffered their fifth consecutive loss, according ...


Gay News

Bears, Blackhawks lose big 2022-11-28
- The Chicago Bears (3-9), without starting quarterback Justin Fields, lost to the New York Jets (7-4) 31-10 on Nov. 27 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Jets quarterback Mike White threw three touchdown passes in his first ...


Gay News

WORLD Church of England, World Cup news, court rulings, Justin Trudeau 2022-11-27
- The Church of England is defending the scrutinized guidance for its 4,700 primary schools on LGBTQ+ issues, claiming that it doesn't allow students as young as 5 to self-identify as the opposite sex, The Christian Post ...


Gay News

Illinois thumps NU in Wildcats' season finale 2022-11-27
- In college football, Northwestern University (1-11) concluded a woeful season by losing to the University of Illinois 41-3 on Nov. 26, finishing with an 11-game losing streak after edging Nebraska in Dublin, Ireland in the Wildcats' ...


Gay News

Fields hurt as Bears lose; 'Hawks fall; NU field hockey; Loyola 2022-11-21
- Nov. 20 was a long day for Chicago sports teams. In Georgia, the Chicago Bears (3-8) fell to the Atlanta Falcons (5-6) by a score of 24-21 on Nov. 20 as the Bears' dynamic starting quarterback, ...


Gay News

Blackhawks get crushed; NU's futility streak continues 2022-11-20
- Taking on the nearly invincible Boston Bruins (16-2-0) at their home, the Chicago Blackhawks (6-8-3) were routed 6-1 on Nov. 19. Boston's win extends the Bruins' home winning streak to start the season at 11 games, ...


Gay News

Bulls lose to Magic as LaVine is benched; NU women's field hockey 2022-11-19
- On Nov. 18 at the United Center, the Chicago Bulls (6-10) lost to the Orlando Magic (5-11) by a score of 108-107. Coach Billy Donovan benched Zach LaVine (who only had four points) for the final ...


Gay News

Chicago debuts new rugby team 2022-11-18
- On Nov. 17, officials from Major League Rugby announced that a new franchise named the Chicago Hounds will begin play in February 2023, per a press release. At the news conference in downtown Chicago, the league ...


Gay News

Red Stars update roster; Blackhawks, Bulls lose; Hossa's thoughts 2022-11-17
- The Chicago Red Stars have updated the status of the club's roster as the team prepares for the 2023 season. With 13 players already under contract at least through next season, ...


Gay News

Wright re-signs with Red Stars; NU wins; Cubs' offer rejected 2022-11-16
- The Chicago Red Stars announced the re-signing of defender Arin Wright to a two-year contract. ...


Gay News

AG Raoul files amicus brief supporting transgender athlete's rights 2022-11-14
- AG Raoul files amicus brief supporting transgender athlete's rights Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul was one of an interstate coalition of attorneys general filing an amicus brief challenging an Indiana ...


Gay News

Bears fall to Lions; Bulls get blown out; Hossa celebration 2022-11-14
- Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Chicago Bears (3-7) fell to the Detroit Lions (3-6) 31-30 at Soldier Field on Nov. 13. The loss happened despite another stellar performance from Chicago quarterback Justin Fields—and ...


Gay News

Blackhawks win; NU loses again 2022-11-13
- The Chicago Blackhawks (6-5-3) edged the Anaheim Ducks (4-10-1) 3-2 in California on Nov. 12. It was the Blackhawks' first win in regulation since ...


Gay News

Nagasato re-signs with Red Stars 2022-11-11
- The Chicago Red Stars announced the re-signing of Yuki Nagasato to a one-year contract with a one-year option. Nagasato was a member of the Red Stars during 2017-2020 and spent one year in Kentucky as a ...


Gay News

U.S. women's soccer makes history after loss to Germany 2022-11-11
- The United States women's soccer team lost again, falling 2-1 to Germany on Nov. 10 at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to The Guardian, it's the U.S. team's first three-game skid since 1993 ...


 




Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS




Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.