THE FEDERATION OF GAY GAMES ANNOUNCES SUPPORT OF "OUT OLYMPIANS"
Olympic athletes invited to participate in Gay Games VIII 2010
San Francisco – August 8, 2008 - As the Games of the XXIX Olympiad open in Beijing, the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) offers its best wishes to the International Olympic Committee for successful Games that will promote the ideals shared by the two organizations.
More importantly, the FGG invites Olympians, past and present, to participate in Gay Games VIII in Cologne, Germany, opening in late July 2010. FGG Co-president Emy Ritt, Paris, explains that "The Gay Games welcomes all sport and culture participants without regard to their sexual orientation, age or physical abilities. Participants can choose from cultural events, such as band or choral singing, or from 34 sports, including many that are also offered in the Olympics. In the Gay Games, participants of every level come together in the spirit of ‘Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best™'.”
The FGG salutes the eleven publicly lesbian, gay or bisexual Olympians in Beijing: Gay Games Ambassador Judith Arndt (Germany, cycling), Linda Bresonik (Germany, soccer), Imke Duplitzer (Germany, fencing), Vicky Galindo (USA, softball); Gro Hammerseng and Katja Nyberg (Norway, handball; they are a lesbian couple); Natasha Kai (USA, soccer), Lauren Lappin (USA, softball); Matthew Mitcham (Australia, diving); Rennae Stubbs (Australia, tennis); and Victoria "Vickan" Svensson (Sweden, soccer).
The FGG is encouraging participation in a campaign to send messages of support to these out LGBT athletes via each country’s Olympic websites. For example, messages can be sent to Matthew Mitcham and Rennae Stubbs of Australia by visiting http://hero.telstra.com/olympics. FGG Co-President Sion O'Connor, Boston, says "The Federation is hoping that thousands of messages of support will be sent to these athletes as a sign of appreciation for all out athletes who practice sport at every level."
Interest by the FGG in the Olympic movement dates back to the very beginnings of the Gay Games. The Gay Games were founded in 1982 by an Olympic decathlete, Dr. Tom Waddell, a member of the US track team at the 1968 Olympics. Originally named the "Gay Olympic Games," the Gay Games have become one of the largest multi-sport events in the world, bringing together some 10,000 athletes and 2,000 artists every four years. Among the many Gay Games Ambassadors, the FGG counts several former Olympic athletes, including Judith Arndt (cycling, Germany), Michelle Ferris (cycling, Australia), and Petra Roessner (cycling, Germany), Bruce Hayes (swimming, USA), Greg Louganis (diving, USA), Leigh-Ann Naidoo (beach volleyball, South Africa), and Ji Wallace (trampoline, Australia).
The FGG message to the International Olympic Committee and links to websites for each athlete can be found at www.gaygames.org. If other openly LGBT athletes are identified during the 2008 Olympics, they will be added to the FGG website as well.
About The Federation of Gay Games:
The Federation of Gay Games is the international governing body that perpetuates the quadrennial Gay Games and promotes the event's founding principles of "Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best"™. The Gay Games were conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, and were first held in San Francisco in 1982 with 1,350 participants. Subsequent Gay Games were held in San Francisco (1986 - 3,500 participants), Vancouver (1990 - 7,300 participants), New York (1994 - 12,500 participants), Amsterdam (1998 - 13,000 participants), Sydney (2002 - 11,000 participants), and Chicago (2006 - 11,700 participants). Gay Games VIII will be held in Cologne, Germany on July 31, 2010 to August 7, 2010.
"Gay Games", "Federation of Gay Games", the interlocking circles device, and the phrase "Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best" are trademarks of the Federation of Gay Games, Inc. Trademarks are registered in the USA, Canada, Benelux, the UK, Germany and Australia.