The organizers of the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, Germany, have reported that 5,000 people have already signed up to participate in the quadrennial sports & cultural event that will take place in Germany’s self-proclaimed “gay capital” July 31 to August 7, 2010.
“With 5,000 registered participants, we are far ahead of our forecast of 2,500 for New Years Eve,” said Annette Wachter, Co-President of Games Cologne. “Taking the credit crunch into consideration, this is a fantastic result and we are looking positively ahead to this coming July and August.”
Contingency Expansion Plans
Since the 1994 Gay Games in New York, the event has consistently drawn about 12,000 participants from around the globe. Because of the weak world-wide economy, Cologne’s team had established scenarios for a break-even Gay Games with as few as 8,000 paid participants, but Wachter and her team are now establishing contingency plans for the possibility of more than 12,000. The last time the Gay Games were in Europe was 1998 in Amsterdam, which was also the largest Gay Games ever with more than 14,000 participants.
The Gay Games have been held every four years since 1982 and were last held in Chicago in 2006 (11,700 participants). The 2010 Gay Games will feature 35 sports and 5 cultural events for registrants, with Bridge, competitive Cheerleading and Country Line Dancing being recent additions to the roster of more traditional events such as Marathon, Basketball, and Tennis.
Germany and USA Lead Totals
Registrations have come from all over the world including countries like Japan, Afghanistan, and Madagascar. There are already 49 countries represented with the largest contingents so far coming from the United States and host country Germany. The largest sports by registration are currently swimming, football (soccer) and volleyball.
Cologne Sports Coordinator Dagmar Ziege is in particular happy about the huge demand for football (soccer). An avid soccer player herself, Ziege is the chief organizer of all sports competitions. “To be feasible, the Gay Games needs strong partners. I want to express my appreciation towards the City Council of Cologne, especially the sports department, the Cologne Natatorium ltd. and the German Sport University. I want to thank all of them for the amazing team work. The competitions are mainly taking place in their facilities. The cooperation amongst the different departments will prove the image of Cologne as the place to be for any kind of sport for more than 10,000 active sportsmen and women.”
Through scholarship programs, Cologne and the Federation of Gay Games are working to increase participation from Eastern Europe, as well as from countries that have limited LGBT sports infrastructure or that have been underrepresented in the Gay Games movement. More than 200 athletes and artists have already been granted scholarships, three-fourths from Eastern Europe, and a campaign has been established to raise funds to bring more athletes from countries such as Mexico, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines. Donations can be made online at www.gaygames.com.
About Gay Games VIII
Gay Games VIII Sports & Cultural Festival will take place from 31 July to 7 August 2010 in Cologne, Germany. The Games will begin with an exciting Opening Ceremony at RheinEnergie Stadium, the city’s football (soccer) stadium, where participants will be joined by up to 34,000 spectators. Entertainment has not yet been announced but past Gay Games performers have included Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, Kylie Minogue, Patti Labelle, Erasure’s Andy Bell and Heather Small. Details, including registration information, are at www.games-cologne.com.
The 2010 Gay Games are proud to welcome media sponsors: reFRESH Magazine (London, UK), Blu Media/Sergei (Berlin, Germany), BOX Media (Cologne, Germany), Sydney Star Observer (Sydney, Australia), Southern Star (Melbourne, Australia), LOTL (Sydney/New York), Windy City Times (Chicago USA), Desert Daily Guide (Palm Springs, CA, USA), QNews (Brisbane, Australia), Out In Perth (Perth, Australia), Talk Magazine (Palm Springs, CA, USA), Liberty Press (Wichita, KS, USA), Schwulissmo (Hamburg, Germany) and Compete Magazine (Tempe, AZ, USA) with special thanks to Options (Providence, RI, USA) and Splash (Naples, FL, USA) and My Scene (Minneapolis, MN, USA).
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 was conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, and was 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 31 July-7 August 2010. The 2014 Gay Games will be in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
“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. Trade marks are registered in the USA, Canada, Benelux, the UK, Germany and Australia.