Even as the controversy around the treatment of gay athletes in the Sochi Olympic Games rages around the globe, plans are coming together for the 9th Gay Games, to be held August 9-16, 2014, in Cleveland, Ohio. Organizers say they are halfway to their goal of almost $3 million needed to produce the games, which will include more than 35 events.
This weekend 400 people attended a sold out “Year Out Celebration” for the Gay Games, held at the Terrace Club at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians. The event was held to mark the beginning of the one-year countdown to the Gay Games. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, who won the bid to host the games by promising the selection committee, “You will be the centerpiece and we will wrap all around you to ensure your success.” was on hand for the event, which featured a silent auction of a jersey donated by Jason Collins, the first NBA player to come out.
Over 11,000 athletes from all over the world are expected to participate in the games, which include events like Chorus, Body Building, Cheer Leading, and Darts. But this year, even more important than the games that are played, the Gay Games will be the Anti-Sochi Games, a celebration of gay athletes and gay culture.
The Cleveland Games promise to be a first class event. Steve Sokany, co-chair of the 2014 Gay Games announced at the Year Out Celebration that the Opening Ceremonies would take place at Cleveland’s Q Stadium, home court for the Cavaliers, and that Closing Ceremonies will be held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If you consider yourself an athlete, even the armchair type, you are invited to compete. Gay, straight, male, female, it matters not. Anyone over 18 can enter any event. Just pay a registration fee. If you’re intrigued, you can get more information, and register here.
If you enjoy a good party but aren’t into sports, the Cleveland Gay Games are still in need of about 4,000 volunteers. Since they began in 1982, the games have been held in San Francisco, Vancouver, Sydney, New York, Amsterdam and Chicago, and it’s always been a great party.
No word yet on how many Russians will be participating.
Photo from the Gay Games Facebook
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