They boast the Indians in baseball, the Browns in football and two of the biggest names in basketball history LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal as teammates on the Cavaliers. Cleveland now also has the Gay Games.
The 2014 Gay Games was awarded to Cleveland, Ohio, it was announced Tuesday, Sept. 29, in Cologne, Germany, site of the 2010 Gay Games. Chicagoan Dick Uyvari made the official announcement.
The other finalists were Boston and Washington D.C.
The announcement by the Federation of Gay Games came after a year-long site selection process that culminated in formal presentations by the three bidding cities to the FGG Membership.
"Cleveland demonstrated to the Federation of Gay Games that they understood the mission of the Gay Games and our principles of 'Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best'," said Kurt Dahl and Emy Ritt, FGG Co-Presidents. "We were highly impressed by the facilities and infrastructure, the widespread community sport, their financial plan and the city's experience in hosting large scale sports and cultural events."
The announcement was carried live worldwide via webcast, and Boston appeared to be favored among online viewers.Read more story below....
"The City of Cleveland is prepared to roll out the welcome mat to the LGBT athletes, their families and spectators from around the world," said Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson. "Fans of the Gay Games will find that Cleveland is a great place to celebrate sports and culture and that we have tremendous assets and amenities for them to enjoy. The sports and cultural environment here is truly a uniquely Cleveland experience, one they will cherish for years to come."
Gay Games IX Sports & Cultural Festival is scheduled to take place August 9-16, 2014. The eight-day event will feature 30 sports, 4 cultural events, an Opening and Closing Ceremony and community and cultural events throughout the Cleveland metropolitan area. Gay Games generate $50 to $80 million in estimated local economic impact in additional to significant ongoing travel and tourism visibility benefits for the host city.
"We are extremely honored and pleased that Cleveland has been selected to host the 2014 Gay Games," said W. Doug Anderson, spokesperson for Cleveland Synergy Foundation, the bidding organization. "It is truly a privilege to continue Dr. Tom Waddell's legacy and vision in our city an extremely enthusiastic sports town - where the guiding principles of personal best, inclusion and participation are held dear. We are also pleased to be considered and selected from among two of the greatest cities in the world Boston and Washington, D.C. and greatly appreciate the support of both cities as Cleveland hosts the Gay Games in 2014."
Multi-sport athlete Shawn Albritton of Chicago said, "This is fantastic news for our fellow gay athletes in Cleveland. I'm sure many here in Chicago are excited at this news, especially since Cleveland is so close."
Added Chicagoan Brian Walker: "It's nice to see the Gay Games back again in the Midwest, in a city that values fairness and human rights, and one that historically is an important sports city."
Kien Tran, a past Gay Games competitor from San Francisco, is excited to compete in Cleveland, though nervous about the city's summer weather conditions. "I will be running in that crazy muggy heat," he said.
Jeff Sheng, a tennis player from Los Angeles who competed at the 2009 World Outgames in Copenhagen and is scheduled to play next summer in Cologne, was thrilled to learn Cleveland won the bid.
"That's awesome," Sheng said. "I hope everyone in the LGBT sports community is really looking forward to Cleveland, and not negatively. I think it will be a really good experience for everyone."
"Congratulations, Cleveland," said Uffe Elbae, President of the 2009 World Outgames. "It is a big opportunity for a city to be a host for an event like this. I'm sure they can create a wonderful event. But I'm still looking forward to the day when a non western city will be the host for either [ the ] Gay Games or the Outgames."
However, several former Gay Games participants, from Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S., declined comment for this story because, as one multi-time medal winner said, "I don't have anything favourable to say [ about Cleveland ] "