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"Passing The Torch" Post 31 of 40

27 Aug 2022 11:03 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

1982 - Final Preparations - California, Here We Come!

Produced and curated by Federation of Gay Games Archivist Doug Litwin and FGG Honourary Life Member Shamey Cramer
with Ankush Gupta, FGG Officer of Communications

Read the entire "Passing The Torch" series as it is posted daily HERE.

Post 31 of 40 - 27 August: 1982 - Final Preparations - California, Here We Come!

“Passing The Torch: Ruby Anniversary Edition” is a factual timeline of the major events that have been part of the Gay Games evolution since its inception. The series will run from 28 July 2022 - one month before the 40th anniversary of the original Opening Ceremony at San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium - through 5 September, the anniversary of Gay Games I Closing Ceremony. All postings will remain online and available for viewing at the FGG website.

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Coach Michael Roth at Gay Games I

DR. MICHAEL ROTH: I finished my Master’s degree in 1964 and started medical school in 1966. In between that time, I became a high school substitute teacher and swim coach in the Detroit area, with my mentor being John Zwick. During that brief period, I actually coached a handful of All-American athletes.

Richard Hunter was a patient of mine, and he and Ric Bohner asked me if I would be interested in coaching the swimmers they had recruited to participate in the first Gay Olympic Games later that summer. Besides getting the newfound team ready for competition, I also made a lifelong friend with Mike Wallace, another doctor on the team. And let me tell you, as an experienced coach, I worked them hard! But it paid off.

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Volleyball action at Gay Games II in 1986. Photo: Ann Meredith

JACK GONZALES: In order to prepare for the upcoming Gay Games, the majority of our Los Angeles team played (drilled) at the Hollywood YMCA with a volleyball club (Universal Volleyball Club). The majority of the club were straight with the exception of my team. Our sexual orientation was never brought up, but I suspect that the coach and other players ‘knew our story’. We had quite an exceptional group of individuals that made up the team. All had excellent skills which made for a very talented team.

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The Gay Games I banner with "Olympic" covered over

A rare unaltered Gay Games I poster

Gay Games posters before and after removal of "Olympics"

SARA WADDELL LEWINSTEIN: In the last month prior putting on the first Gay Olympic Games, this is what we were all doing: crossing out the word Olympic from EVERYTHING! Shirts, posters, medals, EVERYTHING! Tom was also securing advertising for our first program; he was everywhere. Speaking on radio programs, board meetings, and he took over last minute as the sports director, along with myself. We were both the International Sports Co-Directors, which happened in the last month. We were everywhere doing everything last minute, especially with trying to get as many entries as possible. Everything was last minute. Men and Women coming together for the first time in his/her story. The First Gay Bleep Games! What a sight for sore eyes, as we everyone started arriving.

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Print ad for Gay Games I

Charlie Carson and friends around San Francisco. Photos: Charlie Carson

CHARLIE CARSON: Fly TWA to San Francisco. Things are fun right away. Athletes identify each other with big grins upon landing – I meet a group of Los Angeles swimmers and we share a van into the city. One, Frank Maciejewski, turns out to be the third housemate with me and Jeff at Dominic Galardi’s house, as many residents offer hosted housing. We head to Registration to pick up our participant packet and then the San Francisco State University pool to loosen up. Discover the sometimes-chilly S.F. August air. Dinner at the Norse Cove with Frank and Rafael Montijo (who would become one of International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics’ co-founders). Jeff and I go to L.A. swimmers’ team meeting at the Hilton – lively group, and there are so many they’ve divided into L.A., Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica to get around the “one swimmer per city” rule (ha!). Undercurrent on the street is about the USOC’s lawsuit a few weeks back that stopped the use of the word Olympic in between the two words Gay Games.

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Read the entire "Passing The Torch" series as it is posted daily HERE.

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