The Federation of Gay Games today announced the list of finalists for the 2010 Tom Waddell Award. The Award, which will be presented during Gay Games VIII in Cologne, Germany, symbolised by the Dr. Tom Waddell Trophy, recognises one man and one woman who have made outstanding contributions to the Gay Games and worldwide LGBT sport and culture. The trophy, a gift of Vancouver's lesbian, gay, bi and transsexual community on the occasion of Gay Games III in 1990, is presented every four years at each Gay Games in honour of their founder, Dr. Tom Waddell.
This year saw a record number of nominees. According to Kate Rowe (Sydney), co-chair of the FGG Awards Committee, "The Federation received a dozen nominations, any of which would have been a legitimate winner of this Award. Nominations were received from every continent. We're very thankful for the many nominators and endorsers who have contributed to this process."
Kurt Dahl (Chicago), FGG co-president, was keen to note the variety among nominees: "We have people who have founded or developed international sports organisations, members of Gay Games host committees, long-time volunteers and officers of the Federation, and activists who have led sports movements in their own country and beyond."
Only three men and three women remain as finalists. The male and female winners of the Award will be selected by a committee made up of representatives of the Waddell family, former winners of the Award, Honorary Life Members, and the FGG General Assembly.
The finalists, each of whom will receive an FGG Medal of Honour (profiles below), are:
Gene Dermody (San Francisco, CA)
Sara Waddell Lewinstein (Oakland, CA)
Brent Minor (Washington, DC)
Brent Nicholson-Earle (New York, NY)
Connie Kempe-Schaelicke (Berlin, Germany)
Jessica Seaton (Los Angeles, CA)
Annette Wachter, CEO of Games Cologne, expressed her pleasure at being able to present this Award during Gay Games VIII: "The slogan of Gay Games in Cologne is 'Be part of it!', and each of these people are incredible examples of being part of something bigger than themselves. Thanks to their work, the Gay Games have grown and prospered. Here in Cologne we are delighted to show our dedication to the vision of Tom Waddell in presenting this Award to these worthy heirs to his legacy."
Gene Dermody of San Francisco, CA has been nominated for a list of achievements that would go far beyond the space available here. He is a former president of the Federation of Gay Games, where he has also served as chair of the technology and sports committees. He remains an active volunteer, providing ongoing technical and strategic support for his successors. He is a leader of the Golden Gate Wrestling Club, whose Alliance program with the San Francisco public schools was recognised by the FGG's 2009 Legacy Award for Youth Outreach and Coaching. Gene has also been a dynamic leader in FGG member organisations Team San Francisco and Wrestlers Without Borders.
Sara Waddell Lewinstein has been nominated for work that began well before Gay Games I in 1982, where she served as board member and sports director. She was a leader in integrating gay men and lesbian women in San Francisco, both in business establishments and in sport, notably in bowling and softball. Sara's leadership continued during Gay Games II and the creation of the Gay Games as an event destined to be hosted around the world. In her own right and as the widow of Tom Waddell, Sara has continued to inspire and encourage each generation of leaders and athletes. In particular, Sara's concern for the place of women in LGBT sport continues to inform the FGG's policies and goals. (We note that to avoid any conflict of interest, the Waddell family will not be involved in the selection of the female winner of the 2010 Tom Waddell Award.)
Brent Minor has been nominated for his roles as a leader of LGBT sport both locally in Washington, where he founded Team DC, a dynamic FGG member organization with a focus on youth, a priority made visible by the scholarship it awards each year to a college athlete-scholar, and in the FGG, where he served as officer for development and male co-president. More recently, he served as the director and guiding light of the very impressive bid by Metropolitan Washington Gaymes to host Gay Games IX.
Brent Nicholson-Earle has been nominated for his contributions to the Federation of Gay Games' memory of those who have left us. In addition to instituting the Memorial Moment, a remembrance ceremony held at each FGG annual meeting, Brent is the creator and driving force behind the International Rainbow Memorial Run. This quadrennial event takes the Rainbow Flag, a symbolic "torch", from San Francisco, the "Athens" of the Gay Games, around the world to the city hosting the current Gay Games. As the flag travels through each former Gay Games Host City, not only does it herald the upcoming Gay Games, but it promotes both AIDS and breast cancer prevention, while honouring those in our community who have died of these diseases.
Conny Kempe-Schaelicke has been nominated for her work in creating and developing LGBT sports organizations. Her work began in Berlin, where she co-founded Seitenwechsel, Berlin's first athletic club for women/lesbians offering a wide range of sports and including outreach to girls. She was at the heart of the group organizing Berlin's first participation at the Gay Games for the "Celebration 90" Gay Games in Vancouver. Out of this grew Team Berlin, a cooperative helping to organize groups for the Gay Games, Outgames, and EuroGames. Her work spread to the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation, where she served as the first female co-president. Her direct collaboration with the FGG was marked by the hosting of the FGG Annual Meeting in Berlin in 1999.
Jessica Seaton has been nominated, among other reasons, for her work in mainstream and LGBT swimming. She has served or serves on the United States Masters Swimming Rules and Sports Medicine Committees. A past member of the board of directors of International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics, Jessica currently serves as FGG sports coordinator for swimming, and has been particularly involved with ensuring worldwide FINA recognition of times set at Gay Games VIII, a task she successfully carried out at Gay Games V in Amsterdam, where her intervention was key to equal treatment for male and female swimmers. At home, she continues to swim with West Hollywood Aquatics, where she has served as president.