Gay Games VIII
“Be part of it!”
31 July to 7 August 2010
Gay Games VIII was an initiative of FGG member organization Sport Club Janus, Cologne’s umbrella group for LGBT athletics. Site selection for Gay Games VIII took place in November 2005 in Chicago, where Cologne beat strong bids from Paris and Johannesburg.
View medals by country HERE.
- Beach Volleyball
- Field Hockey
- Figure Skating
- Ice Hockey
- Inline Speed Skating
- Martial Arts
- Road Races 5K/10K/Marathon/Half-Marathon
- Soccer (Football)
- Sport Climbing
- Sport Shooting (new)
- Synchronized Swimming
- Table Tennis
- Track and Field
- Water Polo
- Band Festival
- Cheer Show
- Cheer Competition (new)
- Choral Festival
- Orchestra (new)
- Visual Arts: video contest
Sports hub at Sportpark Muengersdorf
Participants greatly appreciated the concentration of sports at the outstanding venues of the city of Cologne and the German Sports University at Sportspark Muengersdorf, just a 30-minute tram ride from the Gay Games villages in the city center, a venue which included a brand new outdoor swimming center, whose pool was renovated for Gay Games VIII to bring it up to IGLA and FINA standards.
Two very popular Gay Games Villages were created, both in the center of Cologne. The Rudolfplatz village, near the famous “Bermuda Triangle” gay neighborhood, focused on food, drink, and entertainment, while the Neumarkt village in the heart of the shopping district, offered booths and the Women’s Space.
The official WomenPlace at Neumarkt was an information, meeting, and event place for women during the Games. It was open daily from early morning to late in the evening. Music, talks, panel discussions, screenings and more took place at this large tent, the focus of Neumarkt Games village.
World-famous lesbian media site “AfterEllen” broadcast live in the USA each evening from WomenPlace, in cooperation with Onemorelesbian and EurOut. German and international magazines were also present.
Food service was available offering delightful meals and drinks and groovy cocktails, all at reasonable prices.
Family and Friends
For the first time, family and friends of participants could register and join participants at opening and closing ceremonies and enjoy other benefits. In addition, the “Family and Friends” program offered a full slate of activities for everyone not at the sport and culture events.
Sports, like yoga or aikido; outdoors activities like hikes or visits to the Cologne zoo for a talk on animal homosexuality, and even a motorcycle tour; cultural activites like cruises on the Rhine, concerts, exhibitions, and a film festival; city tours on foot and by bus.
After the Opening Party at Laxness Arena, every night an official party took place, including one at the Playa in Colonia beach party venue, or the qube party on a Rhine river boat. The program closed with the closing White Party held at the Theater im Tanzbrunnen, next to the venue for closing ceremonies.
In addition, many sports or city teams also organized their own parties during the week.
Opening ceremony for Gay Games VIII took place in RheinEnergie stadium in Sportpark Muengersdorf. For three hours, fire-eaters, drummers and musicians helped to produce an emotional and very atmospheric prelude to the Games. At the beginning the almost 10,000 participants paraded inside the stadium to celebratory music. As in all Gay Games, Team San Francisco was the first to enter, followed by a single Angolan participant. Closing the parade of participants was of course the host city, Team Cologne, with its 900 athletes in red and white. Some delegations were particularly colorful: the Thais with small crowns on their heads, the South Africans and their vuvuzuelas, the British waving a pink Union Jack, and Equipe France in their official national track suits starting the the fiirst Mexican wave of the evening.
The 25,000 people in the RheinEnergie stadium were welcomed by the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guido Westerwelle, the highest-ranking patron in the history of the Gay Games to date. “We will never forget the generation that fought for our freedom”, said Westerwelle, then adding, “Our thoughts are with all lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in the world, who are still treated like criminals”.
The opening of the Gay Games was full of high points: A fire-eater ignited the Gay Games torch, the rainbow flag and the Ga Games flags were hoisted. The athletes’ oath was taken by special guest Matthew Mitcham, while the officials’ oath was administered by Simone Assboeck. Dancers, drummers and fire artists symbolised the continents of the world, which meet under the rainbow flag at the Gay Games. For the conclusion, Agnes and Taylor Dayne warmed up the spectators. Agnes sang her hit single “Release Me”, and Taylor Dayne sang her most loved hits. The opening ceremony ended with multicoloured fireworks from the stadium ground, with Dayne singing “Facing A miracle”, the official anthem of the 2010 Gay Games.
Closing ceremonies took place at the Tanzbrunnen festival space at Rheinpark, just across the Rhine from the Cologne Cathedral. The atmosphere was that of a fair, with plenty of beer on hand. At the ceremony, the Gay Games flag was handed from Games Cologne to the delegation from Cleveland and Akron, host of Gay Games 9.