Gay Games bid gather momentum

Gay Games

While Olympic bids for 2024 struggle to gather civic and political support, two of the eleven cities bidding for the 2022 Gay Games received public relations boosts this weekend.

While Rome’s new mayor Virginia Raggi publicly decries her city’s bid for the 2024 Olympics, the Santa Monica Lookout reported that the mayor has proposed a resolution to back neigbouring Los Angeles’ bid to host the alternative event founded by Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell.

The resolution highlights the potential benefit to the Los Angeles economy — a value it estimates at up to $100 million — and notes “Santa Monica’s hospitality businesses would welcome the influx of Gay Games athletes and supporters.”

Photo: GGLA2022/Facebook

A tweet over the weekend from the Federation of Gay Games twitter account noted that the Gay Games are held using only existing sporting facilities, which maybe explains why 11 cities confirmed their candidacy in July.

A Los Angeles Games would be an ironic sort of homecoming for the Gay Games, an event that was first conceived as the Gay Olympics to be held in San Francisco back in 1984, the year of the second Los Angeles Olympics.

Scheduled three weeks prior to the International Olympic Committee’s event, the United States Olympic Committee filed a lawsuit denying the organisers of the San Francisco event from using the word Olympic.

Waddell argued that the Special Olympics, Junior Olympics and California’s very own Police Olympics had all beaten him to the punch, not to mention commercials promoting the Xerox, Diaper and even Rat Olympics.

Waddell lost the case, so the 1st Gay Olympics became the 1st Gay Games; but the event made sure to include a parade of athletes, a games oath and even a torch relay from Stonewall Inn, New York to San Francisco’s opening ceremony.

Though named the Gay Games, the event is open to all and Waddell even spoke of his “ambition to sever the Games from their direct connection with the gay community all together,” promoting “a more realistic image of homosexual men and women in all societies.”

The Hong Kong bid to take the event to Asia for the first time also received a public relations boost this week as it signed up the support of athletes who were in the city for the Arnold Classic Asia, an event spawned from the success of the Arnold Sports Festival, a ever-growing multi-sports event hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger that grew out of the Arnold Classic bodybuilding contest.

Brian Emerson (left) backs the bid. Photo: Hong Kong Gay Games 2022/Twitter

Tweets from the official Hong Kong 2022 bid account included images of support from Brian Emerson, who they describe as the “first out winner of the [International Federation of Body Building] Masters back in 2013”.

The remaining nine candidates for the Games are South Africa’s Cape Town, Guadalajara of Mexico, Tel Aviv of Isreal and from the United States; Austin, Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Washington DC and the first hosts San Francisco.

The Los Angeles bid is being masterminded by the Los Angeles Volleyball Organization.