Featured events

7-9 September 2012
Brussels Games

Brussels Gay Sports will offer a weekend of fun and fairplay in the capital of Europe, with volleyball, swimming, badminton, and tennis, as well as fitness and hiking.

Learn more HERE.
26-28 October 2012
Bern, Switzerland

The success of the first edition of the QueergamesBern proved the need for an LGBT multisport event in Switzerland. This year will be even bigger, with badminton, bowling, running, walking, floorball.

Learn more HERE.
17-20 January 2013
Sin City Shootout
Las Vegas
The 7th Sin City Shootout will feature softball, ice hockey, tennis, wrestling, basketball, dodgeball, bodybuilding and basketball.

Learn more HERE.

13-16 June 2013
IGLFA Euro Cup
After this year's edition in Budapest at the EuroGames, the IGLFA Euro Cup heads to Dublin for 2013, hosted by the Dublin Devils and the Dublin Phoenix Tigers.

Learn more HERE.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"The Road to Cologne": bodybuilder Kile Ozier

Here's an extract of a profile of a Gay Games VIII athlete. Kile Ozier is a long time supporter and hero in the Gay Games movement.  Read Kile's story of how he first came to the Gay Games and how he prepares for Cologne in Living in the Queer Times HERE

I’ve been to every Gay Games except for Vancouver in 1990; from helping Tom Waddell promote the first Gay Olympics in 1982 to producing and directing the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in New York in ’94 and directing those of Chicago in ’06. I’ve been involved to varying degrees with each quadrennial.

While I had witnessed the power of the Games as a spectator, been proud to have helped to create the experience in ’94 and even experienced walking into Sydney’s stadium with the athletes as a swimmer on Team New York in 2002; I had not experienced the truly transformative empowerment of the Gay Games until 2006, as I entered a contest I’d never thought possible or even conceivable…and entered a new relationship to my body and my life.

In ’02, I swam because I knew that I had enough residual stamina from having been a college varsity swimmer to at least manage 200 meters and experience finishing a race. The experience was exceptional; despite the fact that my body wasn’t nearly in the condition it needed to be in order to truly perform, no one looked askance at me, no one judged, we were all athletes seeking to do our personal best. It felt good, familial, to be there.

The Games have always been powerful for me. Even when I’ve created great ceremonies, as in ’94, and been complimented and congratulated; I must always acknowledge that the true power of the ceremonies comes from the athletes, the participants. All one needs to do is March those 11,000 athletes onto the field in the bright light of day – many of whom quite literally risk their lives to be there and out – and the job of creating a compelling, emotional spectacle is done. The participants are the experience.

But in 2006, I discovered just how profound an experience can be at these Games.

Some background: In 1991, I did some serious damage to myself. Drunkenly driving my car into a utility pole, I put myself into intensive care for 10 days and the hospital for a month (and jail for four days, but that’s another story). I broke bones and lacerated my face and destroyed joints and flattened lungs; all in all, lucky to be alive.

A year or so after this, as I was attempting to rebuild my body as much as possible, I was working out at a gym (“The Muscle System”) on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. One day, my trainer and I were on the patio, working out and a pair of beautiful, muscular men were working out next to us. Without thinking, I said, “Damn, I’d love to have a body like that…” And my trainer immediately responded, “You’ll never have a body like that.”

Wow. “Reality” Check.

From then on, my purpose in working out was to prevent the damaged bod from becoming any worse, as I’d never have a physique of which I could be proud of.

Cut to 2004. After Sydney, my 26 year-old, straight, Long-Island born and bred trainer (and now my very dear friend) kept telling me, “you know, you have the perfect body for physique…” whereupon I’d just laugh at him; saying that had I known that at 20, it might have made a difference; but I was already 52…not gonna happen.

He kept at me as he was preparing for a competition; and I became enthralled at watching his body grow as he built muscle, then shred to show it off. When I went to the competition, it was like nothing I’d seen before; as testosterone-filled and gritty as WWF. I was hoarse, afterward, from cheering my trainer…and, after witnessing the entire process, I was intrigued.

So, I sat down with him and his trainer and asked what it would take. I knew I have the discipline to do whatever it takes to get the results I need to get, once I commit. What I didn’t know is if it were physiologically possible to transform my body enough to not embarrass myself, onstage at the competition. That was my goal, to not be embarrassed.

They had me strip to my underwear, over at the Steel Gym locker room on 23rd Street in Manhattan, and I felt like a horse they were buying as they had me turn, and turn, and turn as they whispered in conference with one another. Then, the verdict: Six Months. “You can do what you need to do in six months,” they said. I had nine months before the Games.

“Okay, then…” I said, “let’s do it.”

My life and habits changed completely. Eating six times a day, learning that my metabolism CAN be changed; going from feeling stuffed all the time to being constantly hungry. Watching my body begin to undergo metamorphoses, one after another, as it grew and melted and grew and shifted and I stood taller and straighter and became stronger and more confident.

At the same time, I was constantly traveling; flying back and forth between NYC and Chicago, working on the Opening and Closing Ceremonies took immense amounts of time and energy. But I was committed; I knew I was going to be flexing and showing my work in front of a huge, gay audience – of the most critical and discerning nature. I had to keep focus.

I did become cranky, at times….hunger can do that to a guy.

The day came. I’d gone from 260 schlubby pounds to 218 muscular ones. One of my choreographers from Opening Ceremonies created a routine with me the night after Opening and the evening before the competition and I worked on it, all night. The body can’t be done at the last minute, though; the results have just got to be there.

I posed with the group, I posed solo, I did my routine. The experience is at once extremely powerful and powerfully intimate. One is virtually naked before Judgement, showing the work done, the food eaten, the cardio run and climbed, all for this one moment. And it hit me, right at the end of my 90-second routine, as the audience was clapping along with my music and cheering the simple fact that this man was putting it out there, that my body was my partner; he did not let me down.

I discovered at that moment how powerful is the bond between body and mind, psyche and soul. I learned, further, that NO one is too old to transform themselves. No one. Ever.

As I descended the stairs, departing the stage, I was overwhelmed with tears; relief, excitement, gratitude for my new relationship with myself. I would never have discovered this without the forum of the Gay Games. Had that possibility not been existent, I would not have taken this opportunity to discover myself in this way.

That relationship to my body, and that body, has carried me through some extremely rough times, since then, and I think that I have survived due in no small part to knowing I have a partner in myself; a partner what will support me in anything I might possible have cause to undertake or endure…and will stick with me.

That, and I came home with a Bronze Medal: I did more than simply not embarrass myself.

So. I am going to Cologne to do it again. My body and I would like to bring home Gold. Whether or not that is how it plays out, I am proud to go, proud to compete, proud that I can do this at fifty-frackin’-eight.

I don’t even remember that West Hollywood Trainer’s name…

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