The Games begin with a reception and briefing for scholarship recipients.They share the stories of their journeys to the Gay Games, the efforts equired to get there, and their motivations for participating.
At the end of the week, they meet again to share the life-changing experience of the Gay Games.
Just one example of the changes wrought by the Gay Games is the story of Konstantin Yanblotskiy.
Konstantin is a figure skater from Russia, one of the target countries for outreach for Gay Games VIII. He was invited to the sports press conference at the Games, where he spoke of his delight at winning a gold and a silver medal in figure skating, and of his pleasure in discovering an event that represents high standards in sport, but which at the same time offers innovative forms of competition, largely thanks to the strong partnership between the host, the FGG and its member governing body (in this case, the IGFSU), and a progressive international governing body (ISI for Gay Games figure skating).
Konstantin also discussed the evolution of his own attitudes thanks to his Gay Games experience. Before coming, he was out to few people. He stated that when he would return to Russia, if asked where he has been, thanks to the courage his experience in Cologne has generated, he would be able to say with pride that he was at the Gay Games, where he competed against other athletes, gay and straight, and won two medals.
Since then, he has gone far beyond just “confessing” his participation in the Gay Games: he is one of the founders of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation, which despite the growing official and unofficial homophobia in Russia, has already been able to organize several tournaments.