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"Passing The Torch" Post 34 of 40

30 Aug 2022 10:53 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

Gay Games I: Spreading the Word and Tom Wins Gold

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 34 of 40 - 29 August: Gay Games I: Spreading the Word and Tom Wins Gold

“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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Top: Tom Waddell throwing the javelin; Middle: Gay Games I medals; Bottom: Tom (left) with other medal winners 

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SARA WADDELL LEWINSTEIN: I got the Dykes on Bikes to be our sports messengers during the Games. They brought us all the results for our 15 sports… daily, and everyday, so we could post everything. It was quite the sight for all of our eyes. Tom took the Gold medal in a few track and field events. Javelin was his best!

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International Male store in West Hollywood and IM print ad

SHAMEY CRAMER: Three weeks after I founded Team Los Angeles in late June, my boyfriend died in a freeway auto accident. Since I used the last of my paid vacation days to attend his funeral, I couldn’t afford to take time off to spend the entire week in San Francisco.

On Monday, 30 August, my Team LA Co-chair Rand Wiseman-Curtright called me at my office to convey all the results he had accumulated. I wrote everything down as fast as I could, but it was impossible not to get choked up hearing the excitement and pride in his voice.

After typing up the information as a two-sided news sheet, I then ran off several hundred copies on the photocopy machine. After work, I took the bus into West Hollywood and get off in front of International Male clothing store, on the west side of West Hollywood. I would proceed to walk all the way home to my apartment on Sycamore – which was just under three miles – stopping in every bar and business where there would be gay people, and passed out the info sheet.

Team Los Angeles athlete (wearing "Olympic" t-shirt) on the Gay Games I track

Although people were wondering what I was doing the first night or two, once people saw it was me approaching the last two days, they got all excited to see what the latest news was coming out of San Francisco. Since there was barely any media coverage outside of the Bay Area on the Gay Games, providing this kind of immediate information “guerrilla-style” was the only way to get the word out in those pre-Internet days.

I did this every day that week before flying up to San Francisco on Friday evening.

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Charlie Carson with fellow medal-winning swimmers poolside and around town. Note the woman in the second photo has the word "Olympic" crossed out on her shirt

CHARLIE CARSON: After the warmup we have a coach’s meeting, much of it led by Morri Spang of Minneapolis. We agree no more ad hoc relays being put together among individual swimmers now that we know each other’s abilities. Slightly annoyed, but I get it. Nobody likes the format of two days of prelims with two nights of finals, the nonstandard age groups, the one-entry-per-city rule; we’ll urge a sanctioned Masters format if there’s a second Gay Games. Today’s events start at 11:30. Qualify first in the 100 Fly this time – wow. Fourth in 100 Individual Medley. 50 Breast is a joke and missing qualifying is good for my humility. Telegram to L.A. coach, Dr. Michael Roth, from a patient: “The best of luck in San Francisco. I’m very proud of you all.” – from Elizabeth Taylor (!).

Richard Ferris, Chair of Gay Games I diving event

Leave because the break is four hours until 6:30. Jeff stays to dive and is concerned because Diving Chair Richard Ferris is good. Getting to know Andy and Scott from Sacramento – already a couple at 19 and 20 and adorable. Eat at Norse Cove, then to City Athletic Center with L.A.’s Mauro Bordovsky, Mike Wallace, Frank, and others.  The jacuzzi hits the spot. Home for a nap and it’s back to the pool. Decide to skip the 50 Back I’m likely to qualify in because I can’t handle four finals on Wednesday night – the schedule really is insane. Watch and visit with others. L.A. and Berkeley dominate tonight’s relay finals.

(L to R) Charlie Carson, Richard Hunter, Ron Kirkhoff

Home with Jeff and the Castro is hopping. Hamburger Mary’s for dinner with Jeff, Frank and J.P. Lanctot (another from L.A.!). Meet up with other swimmers and head to the Oasis bar, a former hotel with a bar by the outdoor pool. We’re starting to be amazed at the lack of coverage in the local papers – isn’t this the most important thing in the city now? Then to the Midnight Sun, a video bar, with a hilarious Edith Prickley skit from SCTV and The Go-Go’s Vacation. Good crowd but we don’t stay out too late – the bigger finals races are still to come. Yup, I’m shaving.

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

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