Gay Games [Edit]

In 1980, former US Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell conceived the Gay Games. He saw them as a way to make homosexuality acceptable in the sports community, but also to make sports acceptable in the homosexual community. He planned to hold the first Gay Olympic Games in 1982, but the use of the word “Olympic” was heavily opposed by both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the US Olympic Committee, eventually forcing Waddell to drop it. Now simply called the Gay Games, the 1982 San Francisco event was a great success. New editions have since been held every four years in New Orleans (USA, 1986), Vancouver (CAN, 1990), New York (1994), Amsterdam (NED, 1998), Sydney (AUS, 2002), Chicago (USA, 2006), Köln (GER, 2010), Cleveland (USA, 2014). The next edition is scheduled for Paris, France in 2018. Many of the sports held at the Gay Games are the same as at the Olympic Games, but non-Olympic sports are also contested, such as billiards, bodybuilding, dance sport, inline skating, martial arts, powerlifting and sports climbing. While there are no separate Winter Gay Games, ice hockey and figure skating are held as well. In some cases, sports events at the Gay Games deviate from international rules, for example allowing same-sex pairs in figure skating and dance sport. Like the Olympic Games, the Gay Games do not select participants based on sexual orientation. In fact, any athlete willing to participate may compete, unless required by the International Federation (IF) of the sport involved. The last few editions of the Gay Games have attracted over 10,000 competitors, thus being similar in number of athletes to the Olympic Games. The Gay Games are organized by the Federation of Gay Games, which is headed by one male and one female co-president. As of 2015, these are Kurt Dahl (USA) and Emy Ritt (FRA).