5 New Sports Complete 2006 Gay Games® Lineup

Fri. April 9, 2004 12:00 AM

Rugby, Darts, Flag Football, Billiards and DanceSport Added to Program

Chicago, IL - The Gay Games VII Sports Program has been expanded to feature five (5) new popular sports. Athletes will now be able to compete in Rugby, Darts, Flag Football (American style), Billiards (Pool) and DanceSport (Ballroom Dancing) at the Gay Games scheduled for 15-22 July 2006 in Chicago, U.S. The five new sports were selected after a thorough review of available venues, interest from potential competitors, the sports legacy of Gay Games I through VI, and financial viability. The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) Board of Directors approved Chicago’s request for the additional sports in a vote that concluded this week.

“DanceSport and Rugby are both global sports that have seen significant recent growth in the U.S.,” said Suzanne Arnold, one of Chicago’s Sports Chairs. “One of the strengths of the Gay Games movement has been to introduce sports to our worldwide communities, often yielding international growth. Having DanceSport and Rugby in the Chicago Gay Games will help grow both sports in the U.S. and beyond.”

“Darts, Flag Football and Billiards are all popular in the U.S. and all three have shown recent significant growth in participation by U.S. LGBT sports leagues,” said Ted Cappas, another of Chicago’s Sports Chairs. “Chicago’s LGBT dart leagues count more than 300 participants, while Chicago’s LGBT Flag Football leagues may be the largest in the world, with 14 men’s teams and 20 women’s teams. This expertise helped give us the confidence to add these sports to Gay Games VII.”

A total of 30 sports will now be featured at the quadrennial event. The Gay Games VII Sports Program will now feature Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Billiards, Bowling, Cycling, DanceSport, Darts, Diving, Flag Football, Figure Skating, Golf, Ice Hockey, Marathon, Martial Arts, Physique/Body Building, Powerlifting, Racquetball, Rowing, Rugby, Sailing, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track & Field, Triathlon, Volleyball, Water Polo, and Wrestling. The Cultural Program will feature participant performances in Band and Chorus. 12,000 participants are expected at Gay Games VII.

Athletes responded positively to the news. Jacob Mahler, a member of PAN Dance, part of Denmark’s LGBT sports group PAN IDREAT, said, "It is absolutely essential that DanceSport be included in the Gay Games. It is the greatest sport and does not discriminate on the basis or age or sex. I think that it is wonderful that Gay Games VII will have DanceSport and I hope that I can come to Chicago."

Hal Shipman, Coach of Chicago’s new gay rugby team, the Chicago Dragons, and team representative to the Chicago Area Rugby Football Union, a member of USA Rugby, said, “Nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has been part of USA Rugby’s policies for 15 years. USA Rugby has looked to the LGBT community as a growth area in a sport that is more popular outside of the U.S. Twenty new LGBT friendly rugby teams have formed in the past two years and having Rugby at the Chicago Gay Games will help increase the popularity of this sport in the U.S. and beyond.” Angie Frank, a member of the board of Chicago Women’s Rugby Football Club, said, “This is a great opportunity to introduce the sport of rugby to women throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world. We are committed to helping ensure the success of this sport and we are already planning on fielding a team in Gay Games VII.” CWRFC has been in existence for 27 years and competes in the U.S. Midwest and nationally as part of USA Rugby.

The Federation of Gay Games is the international governing body that perpetuates the quadrennial Gay Games. The Gay Games was conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, and was first held in San Francisco in 1982 with 1,350 participants. Subsequent Gay Games were held in San Francisco (1986; 3,500 participants), Vancouver (1990; 7,300 participants), New York (1994; 12,500 participants), Amsterdam (1998; 13,000 participants), and Sydney (2002; 11,000 participants). For more information, visit www.gaygames.com.

Chicago Games, Inc. is the host of Gay Games VII and is led by experienced civic leaders from Chicago’s business, sports and non-profit sectors. For more information, visit Chicago2006.org, or email info@chicagogamesinc.org. For information about Chicago Women’s Rugby Football Club, visit cwrfc.org. For information about Chicago’s LGBT darts league, visit WCAA.net. For information about Chicago’s LGBT flag football league, visit ChicagoMSA.com. For information about Chicago’s new LGBT pool/billiards league email info@chicagogamesinc.org. For information about the Chicago Dragons, visit ChicagoDragons.org.

Gay Games® is a registered trademark of the Federation of Gay Games.