I chuckled heartily this weekend with the arrival in our Outsports email inbox of a press release from the Federation of Gay Games. It seems they've decided to try to make the Olympics about them, and in this year's biggest "dog bites man" story so far, they've "called for" support of out athletes in Beijing. Well, duh! They've also offered their magnanimous "best wishes to the International Olympic Committee." What gets me is that the FGG hasn't done anything to promote the Olympics or help any of these brave out Olympians, yet they want people to pay attention to them for bestowing their appreciation on them.
Of course, they've invited the out athletes to participate in their event in a couple years; but apparently, the FGG doesn't even realize that they're not offering fencing, or I guess they expect Imke Duplitzer to take up softball or something. Expect more FGG press releases if any of these out athletes wins a medal. For your amusement, this press release is after the jump.
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 BestTM'."
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.
For information on how to sponsor or participate in Gay Games VIII, visit www.games-cologne.com. For information concerning sponsors of the Federation of Gay Games, go to www.gaygames.org.