This is the twenty-second in a series of articles profiling known out and proud Olympic athletes who are openly LGBT. The New Civil Rights Movement will publish one article each day as we move through the London 2012 Olympics.
Bicycle racing has been part of the Olympics since the modern games began in 1896. Modern cycling is divided into two disciplines, Track Cycling and Road Cycling. Thirty-seven year old Ina Yoko Teutenberg, representing Germany at the London 2012 Olympic games, has always been a Road warrior.
Ina raced for the first time at the age of six. Her big brothers Lars and Sven were competing, and Ina was not going to be left out. In her first race, against boys years older than the first grader, riding a little hand-me-down road bike that was still too big for her, Ina crashed 500 meters in, destroying her bike. The next day, scraped and bruised, Ina came back on her town bike to try again. She came in third, and a career was born.
While her brothers were both better than average cyclists, Sven notably competed in the 2003 Tour de France, it was Ina who ended up as a professional Road Racer. Her early start means she is one of the most experienced women in cycling today. Ina turned pro in 2001, and though she lives and trains in San Luis Obispo, California, she is the premiere member of the 13 member German cycling team, Specialized Luluemon.
Ina says she loves road racing because she gets to be out in nature, see the world, and have the experience of living in other countries. Although she is highly decorated, twice named German National Road Race Champion, the one award that has eluded Ina is an Olympic medal. She finished fourth in the Road Race event in London, missing the bronze medal by 27 seconds.
Ina has announced she will retire after two more race seasons. She has not announced what her post-retirement plans are, but I have the feeling it won’t be to fade away quietly. Ina has a tattoo on her wrist that reads: “Those who lose dreaming are lost.”
You can find Ina-Yoko Teutenberg on Facebook.
Follow our series: “2012 Olympics: Who Are The LGBT Athletes?” as we profile all the out LGBT athletes playing in the London 2012 Olympic games.
Jean Ann Esselink is straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle.
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