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Outgames 2009: Soccer players score with underwear shot

Danish soccer club honors sponsor by showing their stuff. Men's volleyball players threaten boycott.

By Jim Buzinski

COPENHAGEN - No one could argue that the Outgames is great sports competition. There are some excellent athletes here, but in general the competition is uneven. Even a sports like swimming and water polo, which are holding their yearly international meet here, are suffering the absence of top athletes, who could not come for one reason or the other.

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From left, Anders Kyhl, Per Bilstrup and teammate show thank their sponsor. Check out this image and others in larger size in our Photo Gallery.

But there is no absence of effort as athletes I have watched take their sport seriously. And there is clearly no absence of people having fun, something that happens at every gay and lesbian sporting event.

So I was not surprised when at the end of a tough 1-0 loss to the Seattle Stonewall, the Pan Denmark soccer team didn't sulk. Instead, they dropped their pants and showed off their underwear.

Per Bilstrup and Anders Kyhl of Denmark and a teammate from Sweden stripped off their uniforms to show off their athletic bods in their Aussie Bum underwear with the Denmark logo. Standing behind them, their teammates dropped their shorts and revealed their underwear. It was all a part of the team's effort to show their support for one of their sponsors. (Check out the guys in the briefs in our daily photo gallery).

Hell no, we won't play: I am trying to think of a technical term to describe the format of the men's volleyball tournament and "clusterfuck" comes to mind. There was a revolt started Tuesday after organizers decided to compress three divisions (A, B+ and B) into two for the medal round. The result was that some teams were eliminated after Tuesday and will have played at maximum of six games.

At all other international gay tournaments with at least this many teams (35) participants get at least 10 matches, many upset players told me.

When the players asked why the changes were made, they were told they were done by the computer and could not be changed. This pissed them off even further and a petition was gathered that quickly gained the signatures of 10 captains, all of whom threatened to boycott the medal round unless three divisions were restored. Players were furious that each had paid $225 in registration fees only to be told they would be playing much less volleyball than promised.

"We are here for playing," one Italian player said. "This is not fair."

When players confronted the tournament organizer, a volunteer, she curtly told them she was busy with another problem and would not get back to them for an hour. She also told them that she would only talk to one of them as a designated rep, this despite that the captains of four teams started the petition. Her attitude did not help matters and her assistants would not give me their e-mail addresses so I could get a final resolution (I could not stay for the meeting). I think the players have a legitimate beef and all they want is for teams to play as much volleyball as possible; seems reasonable and to blame a computer is absurd. These players had already figured out a workable system using a piece of paper and a pen, very high-tech.

Lone medalist: Woody Allen once said that 80% of success in life is just showing up. For Jurgen Muller, it was 100%. The track and field athlete who specializes in middle distances had decided to try the 5K race walk. When the only other racer in his age group failed to show up, Muller won the gold medal just by finishing. Yes, it's a lame way to win a medal but this occurs at the Gay Games as well in sports like track and field that gives out medals by age groups. Just live long enough and you can win a gold in the decathlon! I call it medal inflation.