5 New Sports Complete the 2006 Gay Games Lineup
Rugby, Darts, Flag Football, Billiards and DanceSport
Added to Program
CHICAGO, IL – The Gay Games VII Sports Program has
been expanded to feature five (5) new popular sports. Athletes
will now be able to compete in Rugby, Darts, Flag Football
(American style), Billiards (Pool) and DanceSport (Ballroom
Dancing) at the Gay Games scheduled for 15-22 July 2006
in Chicago, U.S. The five new sports were selected after
a thorough review of available venues, interest from potential
competitors, the sports legacy of Gay Games I through VI,
and financial viability. The Federation of Gay Games (FGG)
Board of Directors approved Chicago’s request for
the additional sports in a vote that concluded this week.
“DanceSport and Rugby are both global sports that
have seen significant recent growth in the U.S.,”
said Suzanne Arnold, one of Chicago’s Sports Chairs.
“One of the strengths of the Gay Games movement has
been to introduce sports to our worldwide communities, often
yielding international growth. Having DanceSport and Rugby
in the Chicago Gay Games will help grow both sports in the
U.S. and beyond.”
“Darts, Flag Football and Billiards are all popular
in the U.S. and all three have shown recent significant
growth in participation by U.S. LGBT sports leagues,”
said Ted Cappas, another of Chicago’s Sports Chairs.
“Chicago’s LGBT dart leagues count more than
300 participants, while Chicago’s LGBT Flag Football
leagues may be the largest in the world, with 14 men’s
teams and 20 women’s teams. This expertise helped
give us the confidence to add these sports to Gay Games
A total of 30 sports will now be featured at the quadrennial
event. The Gay Games VII Sports Program will now feature
Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Billiards, Bowling,
Cycling, DanceSport, Darts, Diving, Flag Football, Figure
Skating, Golf, Ice Hockey, Marathon, Martial Arts, Physique/Body
Building, Powerlifting, Racquetball, Rowing, Rugby, Sailing,
Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field, Triathlon,
Volleyball, Water Polo, and Wrestling. The Cultural Program
will feature participant performances in Band and Chorus.
12,000 participants are expected at Gay Games VII.
Athletes responded positively to the news. Jacob Mahler,
a member of PAN Dance, part of Denmark’s LGBT sports
group PAN IDREAT, said, "It is absolutely essential
that DanceSport be included in the Gay Games. It is the
greatest sport and does not discriminate on the basis or
age or sex. I think that it is wonderful that Gay Games
VII will have DanceSport and I hope that I can come to Chicago."
Hal Shipman, Coach of Chicago’s new gay rugby team,
the Chicago Dragons, and team representative to the Chicago
Area Rugby Football Union, a member of USA Rugby, said,
“Nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
has been part of USA Rugby’s policies for 15 years.
USA Rugby has looked to the LGBT community as a growth area
in a sport that is more popular outside of the U.S. Twenty
new LGBT friendly rugby teams have formed in the past two
years and having Rugby at the Chicago Gay Games will help
increase the popularity of this sport in the U.S. and beyond.”
Angie Frank, a member of the board of Chicago Women’s
Rugby Football Club, said, “This is a great opportunity
to introduce the sport of rugby to women throughout the
U.S. and the rest of the world. We are committed to helping
ensure the success of this sport and we are already planning
on fielding a team in Gay Games VII.” CWRFC has been
in existence for 27 years and competes in the U.S. Midwest
and nationally as part of USA Rugby.
The Federation of Gay Games is the international governing
body that perpetuates the quadrennial Gay Games. 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), and Sydney (2002; 11,000 participants). For
more information, visit www.gaygames.com.
Chicago Games, Inc. is the host of Gay Games VII and is
led by experienced civic leaders from Chicago’s business,
sports and non-profit sectors. For more information, visit
Chicago2006.org, or email info(@)chicagogamesinc.org. For
information about Chicago Women’s Rugby Football Club,
visit cwrfc.org. For information about Chicago’s LGBT
darts league, visit WCAA.net. For information about Chicago’s
LGBT flag football league, visit ChicagoMSA.com. For information
about Chicago’s new LGBT pool/billiards league email
info(@)chicagogamesinc.org. For information about the Chicago
Dragons, visit ChicagoDragons.org.
Related: Planet Out Gay