Health/Fitness » Fitness

2018 Paris Gay Games Offers Opportunity for All Athletes

by Andy Smith
Thursday Feb 22, 2018

With the liberating buzz generated by 2014 Olympic medalist and out athlete Gus Kenworthy cheering on new bestie Adam Rippon's medal-winning performance for the U.S. figure skating team at this year's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, it's an inspiring year to be an LGBTQ amateur athlete participating in the 2018 Paris Gay Games.

Coming to Paris August 4-12, this year's historic event features a dynamic mix of traditional summer and winter sporting events, from figure skating and ice hockey to basketball. With many sports filling up, it's important to register ASAP to secure your spot.


Competing Where the Pros Play

Federation of Gay Games board member Martha Ehrenfeld is co-Chair of the Sports Committee and she's been heavily involved with scouting and securing venues in and around Paris. Many of the Games' venues are used by professional teams and top amateur events.

The Opening Ceremony will be held at the Stade Jean-Bouin, home to rugby union matches. Other exciting venues include:

  • Institut National du Judo for martial arts, boxing, wrestling, and judo
  • Stadium Charlety for track & field, squash, and cheerleading
  • Piscine Georges Vallerey for aquatics events


    Lodging for All Budgets

    Though Paris has plenty of luxury accommodations if your budget allows, August is the month many Parisians take their vacations, making it easier and often more affordable to find lodging.

    "There will be plenty of lower-cost options, including dormitories," says Doug Litwin, Officer of Marketing, Federation of Gay Games. "I also know someone who recently found round-trip airfare from California for $550. It can be done."

    Litwin suggests checking the Games' official travel partner-KTS France, listed in the accommodation section on the Games site, while also recommending additional travel partner misterbandb ("Stay like a gay local"), which offers LGBTQ-friendly accommodations - including timeshares and apartment rentals - in and around Paris.


    Building Teams and Friendships

    If you're interested in basketball or other team events but aren't on a team, don't worry. "We'll find you one," says Litwin. "You can sign up as a free agent and then be placed on a team that needs an extra player."

    If you're on the fence about going, athletes like San Francisco basketball player Brian Pearlman say the fun and exhilaration is worth the effort. He's looking forward to this third event. "The Gay Games provides the opportunity to meet so many people that share your passion for sports and your values. The experience is wonderful," he says.

    "I first heard about the Gay Games in 2006, just prior to the Chicago Gay Games, the first ones I participated in," says Pearlman, who is captaining the San Francisco Jas basketball team. "It was amazing to see so many talented LGBT individuals in a large variety of sports."

    Pearlman played in Cologne in 2010 (winning Silver) and is bringing a united team to Paris. "I am on the board of the San Francisco Gay Basketball Association and this team features players from this league. We've played together in many tournaments."


    Fire and Sparkle on Ice

    Athletes in many sports compete well into their 50s, 60s and 70s. Since the Gay Games is founded on three principles - Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best - many sports have divisions for multiple age groups. Thus, there is a level playing field no matter one's age. High-energy figure skater Laura Moore, 61, has already kicked her training into top gear.

    Her history with the Gay Games dates back to 1991. "I was in my early 30s and had just come out and moved back to New York City." The now-retired costume designer was thrilled when she heard about the event.

    "I had just started taking skating lessons in 1994 when I heard that the event was going to be in New York. I thought, 'I want to skate pairs with another woman at the Gay Games!'"

    Moore's dream came true after working hard to have ice skating events added to the Gay Games. "For the 1994 Games we used an old ice rink at Coney Island," she remembers. She was part of the inaugural lesbian figure skating team -- an event that attracted 97 skaters from 9 countries.

    Skating keeps Moore young, as does partnering (and keeping up) with partners half her age. She also loves creating costumes for herself, her partners, and other skaters in her circle. Her costumes range from a Marlene Dietrich-inspired tuxedo that's "really a lycra jumpsuit that you zip up," while, for another event, "there will be a lot of Swarovski crystal on my bra and panties."


    Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best

    Whether you're wearing crystals and panties, a swimsuit and goggles, lycra and running shoes, or simply there to support your friends, family, loved ones and LGBTQ community, Gay Games 10 is revving up to be an experience where everyone comes out a winner.

    Learn more at paris2018.com
    Click Here to register.

    Follow Gay Games 10 on social media:
    Facebook Federation of Gay Games
    Facebook Paris 2018
    Instagram
    YouTube
    Twitter
    #gaygames #allequal


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