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, April 19, 2011

Interview with head of Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Positively Cleveland

David Gilbert, head of both the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Positively Cleveland (the local convention and visitors bureau), which are both partners in the Gay Games IX host organization (Cleveland Special Events Corporation), was interviewed in the "My Cleveland" column of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Here are some extracts:

Dave Gilbert brings all sorts of people to town, from wrestlers to jump ropers.

The 44-year-old runs the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and recently took over Positively Cleveland, too.

Q. Do visitors like us?

A. I'm fond of saying you can't fake being genuine. Clevelanders are extraordinarily genuine. We've had that comment time and time again from people looking to bring events to town.

Cleveland is a very big market but small enough to wrap itself around an event, with attendance and strong, committed volunteers. We're having the National Senior Games in 2013. We'll need several thousand volunteers, and we'll get them with smiles.

Q. What's a favorite memory from a local game?

A. In 2004, at the International Children's Games, a group of girls was the first sports team from Afghanistan to ever come to the U.S. These girls had never played soccer. They spent about a week with a nonprofit to teach them a little. They were playing a team from, I want to say Iceland. They were down 10 or 12 to 0 at the half. The other coach said, "Let's just split the teams and play." They had a great, great time. It showed the spirit of amateur athletics. It wasn't about embarrassing a team.

Q. When you're not staging sports, do you play any?

A. I grew up a tennis player at Heights High. My real passion the past 20 years has been distance events: marathons and ultramarathons.

I have a group of friends I ride bikes with and a group I run with. We live in Solon, a mile from South Chagrin. Within a mile, I can be on a trail and go for miles, up to the polo fields or right to Chagrin Falls.

We bike in the Chagrin Valley and the Cuyahoga Valley. I probably see the river more in the valley than downtown.

Q. Do visitors like our weather?

A. People expect some snow and cold in the northern U.S. Three seasons of the year the weather here is gorgeous. We do a big soccer tournament; I think we've had one day postponed because of rain in five years.

Q. How widely does Cleveland draw?

A. We have groups that keep coming from Barbados, Australia, some really interesting places. They're coming because they love the event and Cleveland. We have a guy in Kenya, he's become a proselytizer for Cleveland. We have multiple soccer and basketball teams from there because he's selling us.

Q. What's hot in Cleveland?

A. While Clevelanders don't think so, our downtown is really great. It's clean. It's very walkable. We've got the second-largest theater organization in the country and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

An official from Orlando said, "You have such an amazing downtown. I wish we had half of what you have." It's refreshing to hear.

I love walking people into the Arcade or the Huntington lobby or the old NCB lobby. The architecture we have in this community simply isn't built any more. We tell stories about Eliot Ness and Carl Stokes. There's phenomenal history here.

University Circle is another great place. We'll help them plan excursions. An hour and a half away is the biggest roller coaster concentration in the world, the Football Hall of Fame and Amish country.

Q. If there's one thing we love, it's sports, right?

A. We're one of the top sports communities in the country. It's a huge gathering point. Both our kids played every rec sport imaginable, so we hung out with the other parents.

Marching bands are a huge tradition here. When Solon and Hudson play, both marching bands do a number together. You've got about 500 kids on the field. It's so powerful.

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