Monday, July 24, 2006

Cyndi Lauper at closing ceremony of Gay Games in Chicago

Gay Games Closing Ceremony - Chicago 2006 Photo by John Faier for Chicago Gay Games

The seventh Gay Games, a four-yearly event celebrating gay athletes, has ended in a blaze of colour, disco and pageantry in the US city of Chicago. An estimated 12,000 athletes took part in this year's Games, which included same-sex versions of events such as figure skating and ballroom dancing. Participants at a debate also discussed discrimination faced by gay athletes in the professional sporting arena.

Cyndi Lauper sang to the crowd in the closing ceremony Cyndi Lauper sang to the crowd in the closing ceremony AP

Other performers at the ceremony included a Chicago-based troupe, the Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps, who twirled white rifles to the sound of a disco hit. Chicago's Mayor, Richard M Daley, said the city had enjoyed hosting the games. "I'm sure you found Chicago is a very welcoming place for members of the gay and lesbian community," he said. Mr Daley has been campaigning in support of Chicago's bid to hold the 2016 Olympic Games. 'Last frontier' Alongside same-sex versions of contests that usually involve mixed couples, the Gay Games also featured traditional sports such as tennis, soccer and track events. Gay Games Chicago 2006 The event was open to both gay and straight contestants. Panellists at a debate, held during the Games, discussed the difficulties encountered by many professional athletes who are gay. "Sports is the last frontier in terms of homophobia," Helen Carroll, a sports co-ordinator with a US-based lesbian group, told Reuters news agency. The first Gay Games were held in 1982 in San Francisco. The German city of Cologne will host the next Gay Games in four years' time. Gay news for the Queer Australian

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