Saturday July 15, 2006 Chicago will welcome 12,000 athletes and participants from over 70 countries to run, cycle, swim, play ball, row, bowl, dive, lift weights, vogue muscles, throw darts, figure skate, dance, sing, cheer, golf, hockey, wrestle and sail. There will also be a week long arts festival including choral, dance, band and much more. WOOOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!! There will be nightly medal ceremonies at Millenniun Park!
When did the Gay Games Start?: The Gay Games, previously known as San Francisco Arts & Athletics, was established on 1980 by Dr. Tom Waddell, a 1968 Olympic decathlete who later died of AIDS complications in 1987, and a group of San Francisco residents. Today, the quadrennial event is held in various cities throughout the world. The first Gay Games was held in 1982.
Why the Gay Games?: The Gay Games were established to provide a competitive sporting environment where anyone is free to express themselves and "experience camaraderie and validation through sport and culture," as the Federation of Gay Games promises.
Of course, there are some present and former Olympic athletes that are openly gay and many more that aren't out. The Gay Games weren't established to replace the Olympics, only offer a forum for athletes to focus on personal performance without worry of exclusion or discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, physical challenge, health status or athletic/artistic ability.
All that being said. Let the Games begin. I wish luck and fun to all athletes and participants,. I welcome all visitors and hope we all have a memorable week in Chicago.
Thanks to the Staff and Board of Gay Games VII for their tireless work to make this happen.