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.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Look back at Track and Field: A mainstream official's point of view

Gay Games VIII were fortunate to have the support of many mainstream organizations that provided equipment, officials, and expertise. Among these was the regional track and field association (LVN Koeln/Rhein-Erft). The head of the association, Detlev Ackermann, provided this report, which we have attempted to translate. You can read the original German HERE.

On Saturday evening Gay Games VIII ended with a closing ceremony at Tanzbrunnen in Rheinpark. At these gay and lesbian "Olympic Games", some 10,000 participants from around the world came together. A week full of emotion, but also with critical voices:
"Why do they have their own 'Olympic Games'?"
"What does this have to do with integration?"
"Were the Gay Games even just a huge party, where sport played only a minor part?" asked some people.

In fact, the range of performance abilities in some sports was huge, including in track and field. There were for example age groups where the results were not significant because of lack of participants. While some sport organisers, showing a bit of envy, criticized the use of public funds for such an event, for Games Cologne Co-President Annette Wachter actions spoke louder than words, with the awarding of 12,000 medals, and the setting of 29 world records.

While the "real" Olympics are overshadowed by doping cases, debates on the causes of failure, and defeats that are inevitably accompanied by shame, Cologne experienced an entirely different sport atmosphere. Here, the priority was not placement or the number of medals won, but rather the message "Be part of it."

Be part of it, no matter your skin color, your religion, your sexual orientation. It was a sporting event where you might not always have found the absolute best performances, but where you always were able to share the fun and joy of practicing your sport.

The result was a consistently great atmosphere among all involved, and an event that took place at quite high a level. The importance given to participation encouraged athletes to register for disciplines where they might not have been as strong, but in which they wanted to test themselves. There was support for this again and again from other athletes and spectators, with lots of applause from supporters at the competitions, and it was usually the slowest runners who garnered the greatest applause. In the hammer throw, there was already applause as soon as the ball simply left the cage. These signs of respect from athletes for each other are too often missing in sport.

But the Gay Games were not only for recreational athletes. Top athletes, including world record holders, took part, for example Annette Weiss from Siegburg, who won four gold medals (800m, 1500m, 2000m and 3000m Steeplechase).

Everything went smoothly. In track and field, each day 50 judges and other staff from the LVN were present. Many had taken holidays to help at this event. There was also support from many LVN volunteers, and many participants from our organization, including a team made up of judges in the 4x100m relay. The board of the national union LVN Cologne/Rhine-Erft supported the event in various ways. And we are pleased to hear via the rumor mill that track and field was one of the best organized sports of Gay Games VIII.

One representative of the many great encounters and stories this week was Horst Bödeker. This self-described straight "old fart" born in 1936 participated at the Gay Games totally free from prejudice. He completed a very successful 200m with a time of 35.39 seconds. On the last day of track and field, there was a problem for an American 4x400 relay team, which lacked a member. Bödeker immediately made himself available and supported the Americans with his skills, leading this Germano-American team to a Gold medal.

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