Gay Games 06 Chicago Closing Ceremony

Chicago’s Wrigley Field was the host venue for the closing ceremony of Gay Games VII in July 2006. Participant athletes entered the field to the cheers of about 25,000 people.Mayor Richard Daley helped transfer the Gay Games flag to the deputy mayor of Cologne, Germany for the next Games in star singer for the event was Cyndi Lauper, dressed as Miss Liberty in rainbow attire.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Gay Games, Heading to Hong Kong in 2022

While November 2022 may seem far off, LGBTQ athletes the world over are training and working hard ahead of the Gay Games’ 11th installment, set to take place in Hong Kong. More than 10,000 athletes are expected to gather for the big occasion, making it the world’s largest sports and cultural event that is open to everyone.

This truly international event got its start in San Francisco in 1982. Dr. Tom Waddell — who himself was an Olympian, having competed in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games and placing sixth in the decathlon — founded the Gay Games, a sports competition modeled after the Olympic Games.

Taking place every four years and welcoming athletes from nearly 100 countries, the Gay Games have quite a legacy, and interesting facts about the international sporting event abound. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about the Gay Games:

 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Gay Games, Heading to Hong Kong in 2022

France, Ile-de-France Region and the City of Paris were thrilled to welcome the world to a great festival of diversity and sharing. PARIS 2018 offered a happy week to all participants, visitors and spectators. All of them could participate in a way or another and enjoy GAY GAMES 10.

Our rich program of festivities completed sporting and cultural programs and contributed to the experience of all participants, visitors and spectators.

The major event was the opening ceremony at the Jean Bouin Stadium, a magnificent venue. The athletes and the artists paraded there proudly before taking advantage of a colourful show.

The ceremony was followed by an all night gala opening Party at the Grand Palais, one of the most prestigious monuments of Paris.

For all week, a village of the Gay Games was held on the City Hall Plazza and assured entertainment every day till 10 pm. The Gay Games were visible at the heart of the city.

The program also included a special Party for Women on a boat and an immense closing party at the Docks de Paris, a few hours after the closing ceremony at the City Hall Plazza.

Closing Ceremonies: Final Goodbyes

Canadian registrants at the Closing Ceremonies, August 11, 1990.

Inside the stadium that evening, The Lesbian and Gay Bands of America and cheerleading squads – the Bay Area Raw Rahs and the Seattle Cheerleaders – started the celebration. Greetings from Federal Minister of Justice, The Honourable Kim Campbell, were followed by the Gay Games III Parade of Champions.

The crowd greets the athletes as they enter B.C. Place Stadium.

Athletes kid around and pose for last-minute photo-ops at the Closing Ceremonies.

Once the athletes had assembled on the field M.C. Robin Tyler took to the podium and said her final goodbye. The Celebration ’90 Festival Chorus performed “Esperanto”, co-written by Canadians Joëlle Rabu (soloist) and Douglas Dodd.

Carol White conducts The Celebration ’90 Festival Chorus.

Sara Waddell Lewinstein, honoree Paul Mart, Brent Nicholson Earle, and Robert Neyts.

Executive Director, Mark Mees, took to the podium for his final public act of Celebration ’90 – officially declaring the Games closed.

Closing Ceremonies: Final Goodbyes

Marathon and Ceremony Bring Gay Games to Close

The fourth Gay Games drew to an ebullient close yesterday as 750 runners slogged through a humid marathon in Central Park, thousands of athletes and spectators thronged into Yankee Stadium for a Olympic-style closing ceremony and Greenwich Village was transformed into a giddy, glittering festival of homosexuality.

„This is exactly what I was hoping for: it’s one big gay world,“ said Caity Mahoney, a 21-year-old lesbian student who arrived yesterday from Baltimore, as she took snapshots of friends in front of the Stonewall Inn, the shrine of the gay-rights movement on Sheridan Square.

As the Gay Games IV and Cultural Festival wrapped up, organizers and city officials said none of their worst fears had come to pass. No bias attacks against gay men and lesbians were reported and few logistical problems occurred. The city quietly absorbed the large influx of gay men and lesbians without missing a beat.

At least 40,000 people filled most of Yankee Stadium last night, paying $10 a ticket to see the closing ceremonies, where 11,000 athletes from 40 countries paraded around the perimeter of the field and then packed the stadium’s remaining seats. They heard performers including Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Lisa, Barbara Cook and a sequined Patti LaBelle. Stage Set for March

Some older members of the audience said they had never seen anything like it. Erik Jorgensen, a 54-year-old export-import executive from Queens, said he remembered the oppressive days of the 1960’s, when gay people left furtive lives behind closed doors. „It wasn’t like this,“ he said. „It was really scary.“

The games‘ closing set the stage for an international march today past the United Nations and a rally in Central Park to commemorate the 25th anniversary of a clash between the police and homosexuals at the Stonewall Inn that many consider the start of the gay-rights movement.

Organizers of the games and city officials say the games and the march have brought at least 500,000 spectators and 10,400 athletes into New York City for a week of sports, cultural events, fairs, parties, vigils, marches and conferences.

The games were held in parks and stadiums throughout the city and ranged from indoor sports like billiards to the hard contests like track and field, cycling and swimming.

City officials estimate that visitors spent about $400 million on hotels, meals, taxis and souvenirs.

In the nation’s media capital, the coverage of the athletic events also brought some strikingly normal images of homosexuals to a wider audience than in the three previous Gay Games, which were held in San Francisco in 1982 and 1986, and in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1990. Competition Breakthroughs

„We dealt with a lot of different people that hadn’t had dealings with gays and lesbians before,“ said Jay Hill, the executive director of the Gay Games. „I think the image of our community has changed.“

The games also brought a few unusual moments. For the first time competitively, some top-ranked male skaters skated with other men, and women skated with women, in ice-dancing competitions at Abe Stark Arena on Coney Island. And in the opening ceremonies last weekend, Greg Louganis, the diver who won four Olympic gold medals in the 1980’s, acknowledged for the first time, in a videotaped welcome speech, that he is gay.

A few gay athletes broke world records for their age group. Bruce Hayes, the Olympic swimmer who won a gold medal in 1984, smashed three records for freestyle swimming for men 30 to 34, and James T. Ballard, a Hollywood lawyer who has H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, broke the 100-meter backstroke record for the same age group.

But there were a thousand other personal triumphs and small victories. For some, it was the first time they had ever competed in public as openly gay athletes. For others who are fighting AIDS, just making it to the competition and giving it their best was a victory. And for some older athletes, the games were an opportunity to participate in sports they had loved as youths without having to hide their sexual desires.

„It was just such a relief to be honest about myself,“ said Wynn Miller, 50, who came out of retirement to compete in figure skating. Mr. Miller, who competed internationally as a teen-ager, said that in those days any hint that a skater was gay could ruin one’s career.

On Thursday, Mr. Miller, who wears a nose ring and has pierced nipples, took the ice wearing leather and chains. „Why should be have to hide something that is so much part of our lives?“ he said.

Another athlete, Mark Chatfield, a 40-year-old cellist from Glendale, Calif., recounted how, when he was 19, he took fourth place in the 100-meter breast stroke at the Olympics, but felt he could never disclose his sexuality for fear of losing his spot on the team. He came out of retirement for the Gay Games earlier this year. „It gave me a chance to have a reason to swim again,“ he said. A Welcome to ing Strangers

Besides sports, the games and the Stonewall march spun off dozens of plays, art exhibitions, musical performances and comedy revues with gay themes. Ian McKellen, the English actor, gave a solo performance about his life. Bill T. Jones, the dancer, who has H.I.V., gave a rare solo performance. Dozens of galleries and playhouses showcased work by and about homosexuals.

The events also prompted hundreds of New Yorkers to open up their homes to strangers as organizers scrambled to find accommodations for thousands of athletes, many who came from other countries with little money. „I just felt as a New Yorker, well, why not?“ said Jonathan Slon, a film maker who put up seven athletes from Germany and Holland in his apartment on Riverside Drive.

The atmosphere of celebration led many on the fringes of society to hold their own commemorations of the events at the Stonewall.

Yesterday afternoon, thousands of lesbians massed in Bryant Park and marched down Fifth Avenue. The police put their number at 5,000.

The marchers, led by a group called Lesbian Avengers, had not sought a permit. „We ask for a permit; they can say no,“ said Kelly Cogswell, a march organizer. The marchers, a few of whom were topless, carried signs, blew whistles and chanted slogans. „It’s like flexing our political muscles,“ said Ana Simo.

For many out-of-towners, the trip to New York was a pilgrimage to the heart of the gay and lesbian underground railroad. Some came from places where being openly gay invites harassment. Others were from countries where one could be jailed or tortured for homosexual acts.

Along Christopher Street in the Village and at the finish for the marathon in Central Park, homosexuals spoke of relief at being surrounded by people who shared their sexuality.

„In the Village, it’s like family,“ said Larry Dark, of South Bend, Ind. „I’m from middle America, where you know, where you really can’t come out. It’s hard to be gay there. You come to New York and you feel at home.“

Marathon and Ceremony Bring Gay Games to Close

Gay Games VII

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Your Easy-access (EZA) account allows those in your organization to download content for the following uses:

Tests Samples Composites Layouts Rough cuts Preliminary edits

It overrides the standard online composite license for still images and video on the Getty Images website. The EZA account is not a license. In order to finalize your project with the material you downloaded from your EZA account, you need to secure a license. Without a license, no further use can be made, such as:

focus group presentations external presentations final materials distributed inside your organization any materials distributed outside your organization any materials distributed to the public (such as advertising, marketing)

Because collections are continually updated, Getty Images cannot guarantee that any particular item will be available until time of licensing. Please carefully review any restrictions accompanying the Licensed Material on the Getty Images website, and contact your Getty Images representative if you have a question about them. Your EZA account will remain in place for a year. Your Getty Images representative will discuss a renewal with you.

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The Village

The village was a fundamental to the success of the Gay Games. Showcase event, a place open to all, it was intended for participants but also to other audiences as the Parisians, partners, people visiting Paris and Paris 2018 volunteers.


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The Gay Games: 1998

The first week in August 1998 saw the holding of the fifth Gay Games. And, for the first time, the Gay Games was held outside of North America. This time, Amsterdam was its home for one remarkable week, even by the standards of this city.

The first Gay Games was an initiative taken by the late Waddell, participant in the Olympic Games in Mexico. From the first Games, which attracted 1,300 participants, the scale and popularity has steadily grown. Amsterdam had 14,299 participants and 250,000 spectators – one of the largest sporting and cultural events in the world.

Amsterdam Canal Parade

The day of the official opening of the Games coincided with Amsterdam’s third annual Gay Canal Parade, where carnival floats literally do just that.

This was the official boat for the Gay Games. The two rainbow towers went up and down, and raised and lowered the yellow flag of the Games. In the background you can see the Amsterdam Opera House – the Stopera. This, and the area around it, became Friendship Village for the week of the Games.

Royal Dutch Airlines – KLM – was a major sponsor of the Gay Games, so what more justification was required for GayLM – the “Legs in the Air Line”. And, of course, there were passing royal visitors…

And just to prove that we shouldn’t take anything for granted in August, it rained for part of the time…

Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony of the Games was held at the Amsterdam ArenA. The entry of the participants (all 14,299 of them!) was both joyful and stirring, every last one of them being cheered and clapped by some 30,000 spectators. What was also striking was the number of countries represented by the participants – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Sobering to realise also that in many of these countries, gays and lesbians are persecuted – up to and including capital punishment.

There’s been quite a lot of discussion over why we should have a “Gay Games” – some have said that it is separatism, when we are simultaneously seeking integration with society at large. While I can see some small justification for this view, to my mind it is swept away by the fact that we should celebrate our diversity, particularly in the light of the continuing existence of prejudice and persecution. The positive feelings that the opening ceremony ignited in the hearts and souls of those of us present are sparks that I’m sure we will carry back to our respective communities. As Harvey Fierstein said, to ringing cheers, “We are not different, we are extraordinary!” His speech that night was truly magnificent – reminding us that the journeys that we made by train, boat and plane to get to Amsterdam were short in comparison with the journeys in our souls to reach this place. “We were carried here on the backs of the millions of gays and lesbians that went before us… some of whom paid for the struggle against prejudice with their very lifeblood.”

I was impressed too by the speeches (at both the opening and closing ceremonies) made by Schelto Patijn, the Mayor of Amsterdam at the time. He epitomised the strong support given by the wider community of Amsterdam for this event. He rightly deserved the applause he received on both occasions.

And then there was the music and dancing… The 200 sailors stripping to the Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men”; Dana International, Mathilde Santing (now apparently christened as “the Dutch Diva”).

The Competitions

A friend of ours, Jim Atkinson, was taking part in the weightlifting competition at the Gay Games. On Sunday, 2nd August, I went along to watch some of the competition, and give moral support…

Jim with Chris Morgan on the right. The end result – Silver and Bronze medals! Well done, Jim! You can see the results for all the sports at the Gay Games web site here.


The participants once again marched into the ArenA, this time with their medals and memories…

The Scottish contingent proving that traditionally, nothing is worn beneath a kilt (it is all in perfect working order)…

You can visit the official Gay Games Federation web site by clicking here.

The closing ceremony was at the City Hall Plazza of Paris. It happened on Saturday, 11th, late in the afternoon and during the evening.

It was offered by volunteers of Paris 2018 to all Participants, Volunteers, Partners, Officials and staff.

During closing ceremony, all participants and spectators gathered with old and new friends to celebrate the memories made, the personal-best victories and get energized about the 40th anniversary of Gay Games in Hong Kong 2022!

There was an amazing show proposed by Parisians from sport and culture organizations, as they traditionally do every year at Paris International Tournament.

Gay Games also rhyme with parties in the evenings to relax after the effort.

PARIS 2018 GAY GAMES 10 prepared three memorable parties in exceptional venues. Paris is also the night capital and participants, visitors and spectators discovered the city under another day.

Grand Palais – Réunion de Musées Nationaux

PARIS 2018 has selected RedWolf to organize its official opening party at the Grand Palais to welcome thousands of people.

To make this event unprecedented, we welcome the most accomplished DJ, remixer and music producer on the international gay scene: Offer Nissim. DJ Kingstone, resident at RedWolf, will also play. The entire line-up and the artists who will be on stage will be revealed soon.

The event will take place in one of the most amazing venue of Paris, on the Champs-Elysées avenue: le Grand Palais. Set up as an ephemeral club for a maximum capacity of 5,600 people, it will house an immense stage with more than 100m2 of screens, the best sound system by L-Acoustics, an impressive light show, a VIP area, lockers, bars, food-trucks…

The GRAND PALAIS, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, has known for over a century a rich and vibrant life. Huge space, the Nef attracts all eyes with its glass roof, the largest in Europe.

The capacity of the Grand Palais is around 5,600 places. Be sure you buy your ticket early and get a unique chance to dance with our ambassadors and all champions.

The closing party was held during the night of 11th to 12th August 2018 at “Docks de Paris”

The “Docks de Paris” have become the essential place for Parisian nights.Accommodating nearly 5,000 people, this event was like Gay Games: Convivial, warm and biggest females/males French and European Dj presented to color the evening in the various rooms. Surprises awaited dancers throughout the night.

City Hall Plaza

The best symbol of sharing and exchange in the heart of Paris is the City Hall Plaza (“Parvis de l’Hôtel de Ville”).

It is located close to the “LGBT neighborhood”: the Marais, one of the most touristic areas of the city. Thanks to its geographical position, it is very well served by public transportation (metro, bus, bike service Vélib’). From there, athletes ans artists could move quickly to the venues of sporting and cultural events.

The City Hall Plaza changes face throughout the year by hosting numerous events attended by thousands of spectators. In terms of culture and tourism, the Hotel de Ville is a beautiful architectural building. It represents the French style (rebuilt in 1800 after fire). It has housed – and still houses – the municipal institutions of Paris since 1357 . The Town Hall also hosts free exhibitions that meet a great success with the public.

The Village: entertainment location

With more than 12,000 square meters, Paris 2018 offered a large number of events throughout the Gay Games. Open to all, the City Hall Plaza was transformed into a giant playground where children and adults could discover many sports and cultural events.

From 10 am to 6 pm, initiation sessions in some sports were proposed as well as demonstrations for disabled sports program. There were also Health prevention, citizenship activities and cultural events and concerts.

From 6 pm to closing time each day, two shows and one party took place every day. Diversified themes satisfied all type of spectators. Thanks to that, the Village was different every day! It closed at 11:00 pm every night.

1. Over 40 years, the Gay Games have been hosted by countries and cities around the world.

What started in San Francisco (in 1982, and then again in 1986) has since traveled the world. Vancouver, New York, Amsterdam, Sydney, Chicago, Cologne, Cleveland and Akron have all played host for the Gay Games, with the most recent iteration — Gay Games X — taking place in Paris in 2018.

2022, when the Gay Games come to Hong Kong, marks the first year Asia will host the games. (And it should be said that Hong Kong beat out 16 other cities for the honor of hosting the next games.)

2. You don’t have to be gay to participate in the Gay Games.

As we noted previously, the Gay Games are open to all, no matter one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This policy coincides with the Gay Games’ three core principles of Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best. No one is turned away from competing, whether they are a novice or an Olympic medalist, and no matter their age, nationality or health status.

3. Today the Gay Games welcome athletes competing in more than 30 different sports.

Back in 1982, the Gay Games saw athletes compete in a number of sports — basketball, billiards, bowling, cycling, diving, golf, marathon, physique, powerlifting, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball and wrestling — but come 2022, the total number of sports have reached 36.

For the very first time in Gay Games history, Hong Kong will see athletes compete in dodgeball and e-sports. Other sports, like Dragon Boat Racing, are particularly popular in the region and are also included among the event’s many competitions.

4. World records have been set at past Gay Games.

When talented athletes from around the world are gathered in one spot, it’s not unusual to see new world records set. Perhaps the most famous instance of this was in 1990, when Michael Mealiffe, representing the West Hollywood Aquatics Team WH2O, broke a world record in the 100-meter butterfly. That accomplishment (and the history of that WeHo aquatic team) is documented in the documentary Light in the Water (free to watch in its entirety here).

5. In addition to sports, the Gay Games have a large cultural component.

In every previous iteration of the Gay Games there have been Cafés Philosophiques, which are basically conferences and panel discussions on topics of interest to the LGBTQ community. At the Paris Gay Games in 2018, topics covered how sports can combat discrimination and sports as a source of well-being and health.

In addition to those panels and conversations, the visual arts and music are represented. The International Rainbow Memorial Run opens every Gay Games week, and there’s typically a slew of programming at the Gay Games festival village and venues throughout the city.

6. Tina Turner performed at the very first Gay Games.

Here’s a historical tidbit you may not know: Back in 1982, when Tina Turner was attempting to resurrect her career as a solo artist (having previously performed with her ex-husband Ike), she performed at the opening ceremony of the 1982 Gay Games in Golden Gate Park. Famous gay author Armistead Maupin (Tales of the City) was the master of ceremonies that same year.

7. Speakers at past Gay Games include Ian McKellen, Barack Obama and more.

In 1994, the Gay Games came to New York City in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, and Sir Ian McKellen gave the closing address at Yankee Stadium. In 2014, President Barack Obama opened the 2014 Cleveland+Akron Gay Games with a pre-recorded video welcoming athletes from around the world to the games.

“I know some of you have come from place where it requires courage — even defiance — to come out, sometimes at great personal risk,” Obama said. “You should know that the United States stands with you and for your human rights, just as our athletes stand with you on the fields at these games. After all, the very idea of America is that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from or who you love, you can make it if you try.”

Watch Obama’s Gay Games opening ceremony video here:

8. While today it’s more supportive, the Olympics once sued the Gay Games.

Ahead of very first Gay Games in 1982, the event was called the “Gay Olympics,” which caused the United States Olympic Committee to sue Waddell and his organization. Just 19 days before those very first games were to take place, the Olympic Committee secured an injunction, but instead of canceling the games, they went forward under a new name — the Gay Games — and were a huge success.

9. In the past, the Gay Games have had more competing athletes than the Olympic Games.

The very first Gay Games is said to have brought 1,350 athletes from 11 countries to San Francisco, but the roster of athletes who compete these days is significantly larger. The 2018 Paris Gay Games had more than 10,000 participants from around the world.

Back in 1994, the nearly 11,000 athletes who competed was more than those who competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

10. Hornet’s co-founder and CEO is the Director of Fundraising for the 2022 Gay Games.

Hornet has long thrown its support behind the Gay Games, but for the upcoming 11th iteration, Hornet CEO Christof Wittig has taken a personal role in guaranteeing the event’s success, acting as Director of Fundraising for the Hong Kong games. It’s just another way Hornet, the world’s leading gay social network with 25 million users worldwide, supports the greater LGBTQ community.

27 May 2019 19:55 | Anonymous

If you participated in Gay Games 10 in Paris, you already know how amazing the Closing Ceremony was. Even if you weren’t there, you have the opportunity to experience this amazing event that wrapped up the week of activity in August, 2018.

Check out this wonderfully edited video from the Closing Ceremony in Paris. The link to the video is .

Here are three still images from the video… enjoy!