2006 Gay Games

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VII Gay Games
Chicago 2006
Gay Games VII Logo.svg
Games logo
Host city Chicago
Country United States
Motto Where the World Meets
Nations participating 70
Athletes participating 11,500
Events 30 sports
Opening ceremony July 15, 2006 (2006-07-15)
Closing ceremony July 22, 2006 (2006-07-22)
Main venue Soldier Field (Opening Ceremonies) and Wrigley Field (Closing Ceremonies)
Website gaygameschicago.com
Gay Games VI Gay Games VIII  >

The 2006 Gay Games (Gay Games VII), colloquially called the Chicago Gaymes, was part of a family of international sports and cultural festivals called Gay Games, sanctioned by the Federation of Gay Games and organized by the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community of the host city of Chicago, Illinois in the United States. The competition took place July 15– July 22, 2006. The official Gay Games VII slogan was "Where the World Meets."

Actual athletic events were played in venues scattered throughout Chicago and its suburbs, all participating in the Gay Games through special permissive votes in their respective town or village councils. Cultural events included concerts and performances by the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Margaret Cho, Megan Mullally, among others added to the festival's feel and charm. Contemporary artists also provided exhibitions as part of the Gay Games.

Corporate sponsorship was key in planning Gay Games VII, garnering support for global advertising from large companies like Absolut Vodka, American Airlines, Ernst & Young, Fleishman-Hillard and Walgreens. Media relationships were created with the Chicago Sun-Times, New York Times, ChicagoPride.com and the National Broadcasting Company. Advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign offered substantial funding for the event, as well.

Bidding Process[edit]

Four cities submitted bids. Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Montreal. The decision was made in 2001 in Johannesburg, South Africa.[1][2][3]

Originally awarded to Montréal, Canada[edit]

The seventh edition of the Gay Games was originally planned for Montreal, Canada in 2006, but the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) removed its sanction after differences arose between it and the Montréal 2006 organizing committee. For more information on the change of host cities, see the Schism in LGBT sports communities over Gay Games VII section of the Gay Games article.

Reopened Bidding[edit]

After Montreal lost the right to host the Gay Games, Chicago, Atlanta, and LA were invited to submit re-worked version of their earlier bids. LA and Chicago both opted to bid in late January 2004, and Chicago won the right to host the games by March 2004. Three weeks later Chicago had signed the licensing agreement for the game. A downsized Chicago 2006 group had already been meeting with plans to bid for a future Gay Games before these games became reopened to bid on. Chicago's re-submitted bid, in comparison to their original 2001 bid, had a downsized budget, was more focused on the central sports and cultural components of the game, put emphasis on safer revenue, and also proposed a more volunteer-organized event.[1]


The games were organized by Chicago Games Inc. Due to the change in host cities, the games were planned in only a one-and-a-half year period.

Outreach Program[edit]

Chicago Games Inc organized a successful Outreach program which enabled 120 scholarship athletes from South Africa, Croatia, United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Eastern Europe, Asia, and South America to attend the games.

Opening Ceremony[edit]

Soldier Field hosted the opening ceremonies of Gay Games VII.

The ceremony took place on July 15, 2006 in Chicago's Soldier Field. 40,000 attended.[4]


The concept for Opening Ceremony, conceived and directed by Kile Ozier [kileozier.com], was to tell the parallel stories of the evolution of the GLBT Community as community and as individuals; giving it a global context and relevance. The four acts represent the four stages of this evolutionary process as envisioned by the Director: Exclusion - that moment when we discover that we may not fit into the world as we might have thought, growing up...the moment of discovery of difference; Oppression - the manifestation and formalization of the dynamic initiated in Exclusion...homophobia, gay bashing, contemplation and execution of suicide out of despair...ending with the embracing of self and the beginnings of hope; Expression - the power of community and standing up for oneself, of coming out of the closet, finding Like Others, celebration of individuality and difference within even our own communities; Ignition - the taking of all this powerful energy and philosophy and lighting the world with the ideals of enlightenment and acceptance.

At the midway point of the Ceremony was the "Exhortation to a Weary Army," a reinvigoration to the community in the worldwide fight against AIDS, given from the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and tribute to Tom Waddell, the founder of the global Gay Sports movement and the Gay Games.

The ceremony consisted of five parts:[5]


  • DJ Frankie Knuckles, the “Godfather of House” (a genre of music which originated in Chicago) played music for the prologue
  • The Procession of over 11,000 Athletes and Participants of Gay Games VII in a record 46 minutes
  • Oath to the Athletes and Participants led by David Kopay
  • The National Anthem of the United States of America - Christy Fairbairn Hasselson, Windy City Gay Idol 2006
  • Oath to the Officials - Billy Bean, Saskia Webber
  • Welcome by Chicago Games Inc. - Co & Vice Chairs: Sam Coady, Suzanne Arnold, Tracy Baim, Kevin Boyer
  • Responsibility for Change - Megan Mullally
  • Welcome by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley

Act I “Exclusion”

Act II “Oppression”

Act III “Expression”

Act IV “Ignition” and the Lighting of the Flame

Mayor Richard M. Daley's Remarks[edit]

"On behalf of all the people of Chicago, I’m delighted to welcome you to the seventh Gay Games. I want to acknowledge the Co-Chairs of Chicago Games, Suzanne Arnold and Sam Coady, Vice Co-Chairs Tracy Baim and Kevin Boyer, as well as their staff and all the volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make these games a reality. I would also like to thank the Federation of Gay Games, for choosing Chicago as the 2006 host City and for carrying on the vision of Tom Waddell. Chicago is pleased and honored to have been selected to host this historic event, and you could not have chosen a more appropriate site."[6]


Wrigley Field hosted several field events and the closing ceremonies (note: this photo is of an unrelated, Chicago Cubs baseball game).

Other Events[edit]

Sporting events[edit]

Lake View East Chamber of Commerce advertised Gay Games VII throughout its neighborhood.

Results [29][edit]

Badminton Singles [29] Gold Silver Bronze
Men's T Dexter Giffard, Chicago, IL, USA Chris van der Westhuizen, Milwaukee, WI, USA Mark Scrivener, London, UK
Men's A Collin Koo, Vancouver, BC, CANADA Richard Liu, London, UK Aaron Ray Antonio, Chicago, IL, USA
Men's B Dariusz Zieba, Phoenix, AZ, USA Martin Kraemer, Munich, GERMANY Malcolm Banks, London, UK
Men's CC Ron Ng Dennis Fong, San Leandro, CA, USA Lucas Wonn, Chicago, IL, USA
Men's C AJ Jamal, Long Beach, CA, USA Jeff Weber, Chicago, IL, USA Rick Jun Li
Women's A Cindy Lee, Austin, TX, USA Suanne Au, Lincoln, NE, USA Amy Ma, Arlington Heights, IL, USA
Women's B Laura Grieve, San Francisco, CA, USA Bonnie May, Florence, MA, USA Ilse Aben, Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
Women's C Coni Staff, Forestville, CA, USA Karen Shoffner, Elk Grove Village, IL, USA Emma Lou "Scottie" Scott, Houston, TX, USA

Host country performance[edit]

Closing ceremony[edit]

Cyndi Lauper sings at Gay Games VII's Closing Ceremony at Wrigley Field.

The Games' closing ceremony was held July 22, 2006 at Wrigley Field. 25,000 spectators attended. Mayor Richard M. Daley handed over the flag to the Deputy Mayor of Cologne, host of the next Gay Games.[6][30] Performers included, amongst others, Cyndi Lauper.

Broadcast and Coverage[edit]

The games were originally to be exclusively aired on the Q Television Network after they signed an exclusive deal with the Chicago organizers worth $3.2 million.[31] QTV had agreed to make their broadcasts available in over 150 markets worldwide.[32] This deal later fell through though,[33] and the games were instead covered through a number of media outlets.[1][34] Major media sponsors of these games included Sirius XM Radio, Logo TV, New York Times, Out.com and Gay.com.[1]

These games benefited from its leadership's media connections, with Baim being the founder and producer of the Windy City Times and Boyer being a prominent Chicago PR manager.[1]

The 2006 Gay Games received an unprecedented level of media coverage, both ahead of and during the Games.[1]

Early into the planning of the games, media sponsorship from 67 companies and media outlets secured $7 million USD of advertising and editorial space.[1]

Fleishman-Hillard donated time and expertise to make sure that stories were published in Europe, South Africa, Australia, and the US.[1]

700 media representatives from 250 different outlets were awarded credentials during the games. Local papers featured front-page coverage of the Games.[1]

The games were covered on CNN, NBC's The Today Show, and The Weather Channel.[1]


The Gay Games received an unprecedented level of corporate sponsorship for its 2006 edition. Among the hundreds of sponsors pouring cash and in-kind support into the Games are Alming its over 300 sponsors were American Airlines, Walgreen, PepsiCo, Glaxo, Orbitz, Viacom's Logo TV channel, Sirius XM, Disney's ESPN, Ernst & Young, and Chicago-based companies such as Kraft.[35]

Individual sponsorship ranged from between five-hundred dollars to over a million dollars.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Symons, Caroline. The Gay Games: A History. 
  2. ^ Mattias, Karen (September 23, 2001). "Los Angeles L.A. Group to Make Bid to Host 2006 Gay Games". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles). Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Los Angeles Gay Games Bid Group Announces National Advisory Board". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  4. ^ "USA – Gay Games: Opening Ceremony". globalgayz.com. January 1, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ Chicago Games. "Opening Ceremony Program" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  6. ^ a b "Gay Games Chicago". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Badminton". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Basketball". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  9. ^ 20Volleyball "Beach Volleyball". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Bowling". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Cycling". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  12. ^ "DanceSports". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Darts". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Diving". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Figure Skating". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Flag Football". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Golf". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  18. ^ a b "Marathon". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  19. ^ Ice%20Hockey "Ice Hockey". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  20. ^ "Martial Arts". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  21. ^ "Physique". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Pool Billiards". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  23. ^ "Power Lifting". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Racquetball". gaygameschicago.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. [dead link]
  25. ^ "Illinois town council OKs Gay Games". USA Today. April 5, 2006. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  26. ^ Ritt, Emmy (April 14, 2014). "For Sailor, Gay Games have been 'greatest gift of all'". www.outsports.com. OutSports. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  27. ^ "USA – Gay Games: Swimming & Sports". www.globalgayz.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g "2006 Gay Games VII Chicago Sports and Cultural Festival". www.events.org. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  29. ^ a b "Gaygameschicago.org". Gaygameschicago.org. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  30. ^ "Gay Games 06 Chicago Closing Ceremony". globalgayz.com. January 1, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Gay Games--R-- Chicago Signs $3.2 Million Broadcast Rights Deal with Q Television". www.businesswire.com. December 6, 2004. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  32. ^ "10, 9, 8, 7… The Countdown Is On! Early Registration Closes New Year’s Eve!". www.pleasedancewithme.com. December 2004. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  33. ^ Keen, Lisa (May 18, 2006). "Q Television Network calling it quits?". www.pridesource.com. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  34. ^ McKenna, Joel (May 25, 2006). "QTV: Terminated TV". the17thman. TypePad. Retrieved January 16, 2015. 
  35. ^ a b Spain, William (July 11, 2006). "Corporate giants flock to Gay Games". www.marketwatch.com. Market Watch. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 

External links[edit]