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The Federation of Gay Games

The FGG is the umbrella organization responsible for managing the pre-eminent international LGBT sports and cultural event, the quadrennial Gay Games.

The Gay Games are the largest sporting event in the world open to all. The Games are the legacy of Dr. Tom Waddell, a decathlon competitor for the U.S. in the 1968 Olympics. Waddell conceived of the Games as an opportunity for gays and lesbians to show the world that their skills and competitive spirit were equal to the rest of humanity.

The first Gay Games took place in 1982 in San Francisco, bringing together 1,350 athletes from a dozen countries. The Games have been held every four years since in world class cities. Gay Games X will take place in Paris, France in 2018.

Little Known Facts about the Gay Games

There are many milestones and accomplishments that highlight the Gay Games’ 24-year history.

  • The official archives of the Federation of Gay Games are held by the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center at the San Francisco Public Library.
  • Gay Games IV are prominently featured in the film, Thin Ice. The story is of a lesbian, amateur skater who loses her skating partner shortly before competing in the Games, and begins a desperate search for a suitable replacement. Scenes from the Games include the opening ceremony, the figure skating competition, and the Pride Parade.
  • The first international Gay Games were held in Vancouver, Canada in 1990. Gay Games III drew 7,300 hundred participants, representing 39 countries and 27 sports. The Games were the largest volunteer effort in Vancouver history.
  • President Barack Obama kicked off Gay Games IX in Cleveland, Ohio with a surprise video message shown at the opening ceremonies. It is the first time a president of the host country has welcomed the athletes.
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