July 29, 2011; Source: Cleveland.com | Gay Games X is back on in Northeast Ohio. Cleveland and Akron, slated venues for the international sporting event, can once again look forward to hosting athletes, fans and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from all over the world, and the prospect of generating millions of dollars for the local economy.
A lawsuit almost derailed the games. Cleveland Synergy Foundation, the nonprofit which had won the rights to run the event, sued the Federation of Gay Games, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland and the city after the federation terminated its agreement with the foundation.
The federation claimed the nonprofit had failed to meet the terms of the licensing agreement and proceeded to sign a contract with Cleveland Special Events Corp. to manage the tournament. A settlement has been reached however, with the city of Cleveland agreeing to pay the foundation $475,000.
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The 2014 Gay Games will be held from August 9 to 16 and organizers expect more than 13,000 participants from over 30 countries to attend. The gathering will include competitions in 35 sports, including swimming, basketball, cycling, soccer, ice hockey, track and field, and for the first time, rodeo. Cultural activities are also scheduled.
The Gay Games were the brainchild of Dr. Tom Waddell who conceived it as a “vehicle of change.” Since they were first held in 1982, the games have helped change perceptions and attitudes about LGBT people while simultaneously empowering gay athletes and the wider LGBT community. The Gay Games were initially called the Gay Olympics but the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee sued the organizers to force the name change. – Erwin de Leon