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Moment #70: World OutGames forms after split with Federation of Gay Games

Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.

Gay sports, 2003: It was not an amicable divorce. In 2001, the Federation of Gay Games awarded the 2006 Gay Games to Montreal. Just two years later, after charges and countercharges, the contract was still not signed and Chicago was awarded the 2006 event. Montreal went on to form the World OutGames.

The Chicago Gay Games had its closing ceremonies on July 22, 2006. Just a week later, the OutGames had its opening ceremonies. The closeness of the dates meant that the vast majority of athletes had to choose one or the other. The result was a Gay Games that was mostly American, and an OutGames that was heavily Canadian and European.

The OutGames was a big success in terms of the the logistics but a financial disaster. The organizing committee ran up a deficit of $5.3 million, and owed $2.2 million to creditors (including Outsports); it later filed for bankruptcy. In contrast, the Chicago Gay Games broke even.

The second OutGames in 2009 in Copenhagen was well-run with great facilities, but it was marred by a gay bashing the night of the opening ceremonies and an explosives attack at the track venue that injured one runner.

The 2013 World OutGames are set for Antwerp, Belgium.

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