Hall of Fame golfer Patty Sheehan, who came out as a lesbian at the height of her career, continues to excel on the LPGA Legends tour.
While sports, at least on the major competitive level, may be the final closet for gay men, there have nevertheless been a number of gay male elite athletes.
Although lesbians and athletics have long been identified with each other, lesbian athletes, despite great achievements, still face numerous obstacles.
Fears and misconceptions about transgendered and intersexed athletes abound.
In 2005 basketball star and three-time Olympic champion Sheryl Swoopes publicly came out as a lesbian and acknowledged her committed relationship with another woman.
Olympic medalist Mark Tewksbury was closeted throughout his competitive swimming career, but since coming out has become an advocate for glbtq rights.
Acclaimed Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas is among the small number of professional athletes who have found the courage to come out as gay at the height of their careers.
One of the best tennis players of all time, William "Big Bill" Tilden achieved spectacular success on the courts only to suffer an equally spectacular fall when his homosexuality and penchant for underage boys became known.
Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell is best known for founding the Gay Games, a sports and arts event modeled on the Olympics.
Flamboyant figure skater Johnny Weir won three United States Championships and twice represented his country as an Olympian; although there had been widespread speculation that he was gay for several years, he did not come out publicly until 2011.
Diane Whipple, the coach of the women's lacrosse team at Saint Mary's College in California, was killed in a dog-mauling; the response of her partner helped establish the right of same-sex partners to equal treatment with heterosexuals.