Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Happy Birthday Gay Games

With the world looking at London tomorrow for another sporting opening ceremony, today we celebrate another one which was a pioneer in the world of lgbt sport. Today is the 30th anniversary of the first day of the first Gay Games. It was held in San Francisco from 28th August to 5th September 1982, and was the brainchild of American gay Olympian Tom Waddell who competed at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
The Federation of Gay Games, who now runs the 4-yearly event, are celebrating with aweekend of special events on 20th/21st October, and I’ll be saying more about the games then.

Until October I’ll present some bits of information about the Gay Games, beginning with a list of games held so far.
1982    San Francisco
1986    San Francisco
1990    Vancouver
1994    New York City
1998    Amsterdam
2002    Sydney
2006    Chicago
2010    Cologne

Way back in my Olympic Countdown series I gave a chart showing the comparison in athlete numbers at the Gay Games and the Olympics. I think its worth reproducing it again with revised figures and the London 2012 figures.

A few lgbt Olympians have competed at the Gay Games, and become gold medal-winners. The first Olympic champion to become Gay Games champion was swimmer Bruce Hayes. At the 1990 Gay Games he won 7 gold medals, and another 9 at the 1994 Gay Games.

The lgbt Olympian with the most Gay Games medals is Peter Prijdekker. He moved to the UK from the Netherlands after his Olympic appearance in 1972 and joined London’s Out to Swim club. Over 4 Gay Games Peter has won a total of 18 gold medals, 5 silvers and 6 bronzes.

The Federation of Gay Games have a group of Ambassadors from all walks of life, including the following Olympians: Judith Arndt, Michele Ferris, Bruce Hayes, Greg Louganis, Matthew Mitcham, Leigh-Ann Naidoo, Petra Rossner, Blake Skjellerup and Ji Wallace.

Finally, the Gay Games are open to all and is not elitist like the Olympic Games. People from all walks of life, ages, and fame have taken part. Here’s a short list of some notable Gay Games athletes, some of whom may be familiar to you :
Betty Baxter, Olympian (1 gold, 1 silver, volleyball, 2 Gay Games)
Geert Blanchart, Olympian (silver, in-line skating 1998)
Keith Boykin, former White House aide (gold, wrestling 2006)
Glenn Burke, professional baseball player (athletics 1982; gold, basketball 1986)
Rhona Cameron, comedian (bronze, swimming 1998)
Mark Chatfield, Olympian (6 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze, swimming 1994)
Scott Cranham, Olympian (3 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze, diving 1990)
Richard Fairbrass, singer (cycling 1998)
Gregory Grove, aka gay porn actor Matthew Rush (bodybuilding 1998; bronze, bodybuilding 2002)
Christian Haren, the “Marlborough cigarette man” (bodybuilding 1986)
James Hormel, US Ambassador (1 gold, 2 bronze, tennis, 3 Gay Games)
Joel Mangs, aka gay porn actor Brad Patton (2 gold, figure skating 2002)
Rev. Denver NeVaar, aka Sister Who of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (bodybuilding 1990)
Chuck Palanhuik, author of “Fight Club” (gold, discus 1990)
George Takei, Star Trek star (gold, athletics 1998)
Esera Tuaolo, professional US footballer (gold, flag football 2006)
Dan Veatch, Olympian (13 gold, swimming,1998)
Tom Waddell, Olympian and founder of the Gay Games (3 gold, athletics 1982 and 1986)

1 comment:

  1. Gay Games 2014...... Table Tennis falling through the "Cracks".
    More information: