News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.


The Holden Arboretum

Wayside Furniture

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us

Gay Games 9 FAQ
Answers to your Gay Games 9 questions
This story is part of a special series.

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
Download (WKSU Only)
The Gay Games begin Saturday, August 9th with opening ceremonies. We have the answers for anything you want to know about the events! Anything you want to know? Comment below and we'll get back to you!

What are the Gay Games?

The Gay Games are an international sporting and cultural event held every four years. It will be held in Cleveland and Akron August 9-16, 2014.  Organizers, many from the Cleveland area, put together a bid for the games. In 2009, it was announced that Cleveland had beat out Boston and Washington, D.C. to host the event. Launched in 1982, the Games invite participation from all athletes—regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political beliefs, athletic or artistic ability, age, physical challenge or health status. The Games offer a safe environment for LGBT competitors and are open to anyone 18 years or older. Typically, about 10% of participants are non-LGBT, often friends and family who participate to show their support. More information about GG9 can be found here

What is the Federation of Gay Games?

The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) is the umbrella organization responsible for managing the pre-eminent international LGBT sports and cultural event, the quadrennial Gay Games. Dr. Tom Waddell, a 1968 U.S. Olympic decathlete, envisioned the dream of a multi-sport competition as a showcase for the gay and lesbian community, and in 1982 he and others in San Francisco established the Gay Games as an Olympic-style event. That year, 1,350 participants from 12 countries gathered in late August to compete in 17 sports. The world of LGBT athletics was changed forever as participants returned to their cities and countries, inspired by Gay Games I to establish local clubs for year-round training and competition. More information can be found here.

Where will participants come from?

The event draws participants from nearly 50 countries, particularly North America, Western Europe, and Australia/New Zealand. Participants will travel from cities with large LGBT populations like Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. In addition, we are reaching out to mid-sized Midwestern cities within driving distance of Cleveland and Akron. It’s expected that 20,000 people will be attending and/or participating in the events around Northeast Ohio.

Where will events take place?

In Cleveland, events will take places at facilities including the Convention Center and Cleveland State University facilities, plus locations at Case Western Reserve University. In Akron, events will be held at University of Akron facilities and Firestone Country Club. Open water swimming will be held at Edgewater Beach and beach volleyball at Whiskey Island. A link to the schedule of events can be found here.

Who can participate in the Gay Games?

“The Gay Games are not separatist, they are not exclusive, they are not oriented to victory, and they are not for commercial gain,” wrote Dr. Tom Waddell after the first Gay Games. “They intended to bring a global community together in friendship, to experience participation, to elevate consciousness and self-esteem, and to achieve a form of cultural and intellectual synergy. We have the opportunity to take the initiative on critical issues that affect the quality of life.” Anyone can participate in the Gay Games, whatever their sexual orientation. It is estimated that about 10% of participants in each edition of the Gay Games are straight, often friends and family members of LGBT participants who participate to show their support and solidarity.

How many people participate in the Gay Games?

Since 1994, each Gay Games has drawn 10,000-12,000 participants. That is comparable to the Summer Olympics. The Gay Games are one of the world’s largest amateur athletic events, and the largest event open to all adults. Gay Games VIII in Cologne in 2010 attracted some 10,000 participants from about 70 countries. Gay Games VII in Chicago in 2006 attracted 11,500 participants from 70 countries. Gay Games VI in Sydney Australia in 2002 attracted 12,100 participants. Information about Gay Games I to Gay Games VI is available here.

Can elite athletes participate in the Gay Games?

The Gay Games are open to anyone regardless of ability. The following are elite athletes who have competed in the Gay Games.

  • Judith Arndt, world champion and Olympic silver medal cyclist, Germany
  • Bruce Hayes, Olympic gold medal swimmer, U.S.
  • Greg Louganis, five-time Olympic medalist for diving, U.S.
  • Leigh-Ann Naidoo, Olympic beach volleyball player, South Africa
  • Petra Rössner, Olympic gold medal cyclist, Germany
  • Michelle Ferris, Olympic silver medal cyclist, Australia
  • Ji Wallace, Olympic trampoline silver medalist, Australia

Chris Morgan, a world champion drug-free powerlifter from the UK, got his competitive start in the Gay Games and has gone on to win world championship titles in his sport, and widespread acceptance in his community.

What sports are on offer at the next Gay Games?

Here is the current list:

Aquatics Diving
Aquatics Open Water Swim
Aquatics Swimming
Aquatics Synchronized Swimming
Aquatics Water Polo
Aquatics Pink Flamingo
Beach Volleyball
Figure Skating
Flag Football
Football (Soccer)
Ice Hockey
Marathon & Road Races
Martial Arts
Rugby (Union)
Track & Field

All info on the sports program can be found here.

How will participants and/or spectators be able to get to all of the events around the region?

Public transit systems including the Greater Cleveland RTA (Cuyahoga County), Metro RTA (Summit County) and Laketran (Lake County) offer free rides to participants with GG9 credentials. The public also will be able to purchase public transit tickets to shuttle between events. More information can be found here.

What Gay Games events are not to miss?

WKSU talked to GG9 Events Director Rob Smitherman, who suggested some not-to-miss events:

  • Opening Ceremonies:
Opening Ceremonies include a parade of participants from over 50 countries entering Quicken Loans Arena. Performers include Lance Bass, Broadway actress Andrea McArdle and the Pointer Sisters. More information can be found here.
  • Rodeo
Presented by The International Gay Rodeo Association, this is the first time the rodeo is merged with the Gay Games. More than 100 are expected to compete in the rodeo's 13 events at the Summit County Fairgrounds. For more info on the rodeo, click here.
  • Figure skating
Figure skating will be held at Serpentini Arena in Lakewood where U.S. Olympic gold medalist Carol Heiss-Jenkins trains figure skaters year-round to compete on the international stage. During the Gay Games, skaters will take to the same ice and combine artistry, creativity and physical stamina in beautiful, choreographed expressions of art and movement. The figure skating competition consists of solo and pairs categories in several age groups. More information can be found here.
  • DanceSport
The event will be held at Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. The competitions include International Style, American Style, Country Western Style and Open Style, with separate categories for men and women. More information can be found here.
Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Backers of legalizing marijuana in Ohio promise to be back in 2016
We should be aloud to grow more than 4 plants and not have to register with the state considering it will be a free market.

Akron says it's had no second thoughts about welcoming refugees
What business does Councilman Neal own on North Hill? I'd love to support him. I am so glad to have the refugees in our neighborhood. I have lived here for 25 ...

Scarborough says the University of Akron is trying to rebuild relationships
In order for the University of Akron to grow and become a desirable place for students across Ohio and elsewhere, it must address the crime problem in the Akron...

Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite wants to end pay-to-play sports fees at Ohio's schools
You can bet Hite and Husted will also rush to the rescue of the Academic Challenge team, the speech-and-debate squad, the Science Olympians and the chess club. ...

Ohio lawmakers consider new gun bills
States that have gun restrictions/cities have reduced gun violence is false. CHICAGO has some of the toughest gun laaws/restrictions but yet fun violence is off...

Cleveland's public transit system considers fare increase for 2016
I work with individuals with disabilities. Yes some of my folks need more help than the average person. As a whole, the group I work with however can manuver ju...

Community group sues to re-open part of Wadsworth hospital
My father was part of the founding group of citizens which started the "new" Wadsworth/Rittman Hospital. For some reason the leadership for the future of the ho...

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents painters who loved their gardens
brilliant masterpiece, Greetings from

Ohio Sen. Tom Patton proposes bill for firefighter cancer benefits
Thank you Senator Patton. On behalf of all of those who love our firefighters; we appreciate that someone is standing up for them and their continued health. ??...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University