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Gay Games Bid Could Earn Santa Monica Council’s Backing
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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

 

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

August 19, 2016 -- The Gay Games could be coming to the Los Angeles area in 2022, and possibly with the support of the Santa Monica City Council.

Mayor Tony Vazquez and Councilmember Pam O’Connor have proposed a resolution that would back Los Angeles’ bid to host the event, which is described on the Federation of Gay Games’ website as “the largest sport and culture event in the world open to all.”

The council will consider the resolution at its meeting on Tuesday. However, the vote comes as a record number of openly gay atletes are participating in the Summer olympic games in Rio, according to Outsports magazine. There are 49 openly gay athletes participating, twice as many as took part in the London games four years ago.

Tom Waddell, an openly gay man who competed in the 1968 Olympics, founded the Gay Games “as a vehicle of change,” according to the Federation of Gay Games’ website.

“For over 30 years, the Gay Games have built an international legacy of changing cultural, social and political attitudes towards LGBT people across the globe, at the same time empowering thousands and thousands with the transforming benefits of sports competition,” the website states.

Spearheading the campaign to bring the Gay Games to the region is the Los Angeles Volleyball Association.

A website promoting the bid, ggla2020.com, does not specify if any competitions are planned for Santa Monica, but it does say there is “a thriving LGBT scene” in this city.

The proposed Santa Monica council resolution states the Gay Games could bring up to $100 million into the Los Angeles area economy, and “Santa Monica’s hospitality businesses would welcome the influx of Gay Games athletes and supporters.”

Santa Monica residents and businesses “are urged to join with the municipal government” to support the region’s bid, according to the resolution.

The Gay Games were first held in San Francisco in 1982, and have taken place every four years since then in various cities. Cleveland and Akron hosted the games most recently in 2014, and the event will take place in Paris in 2018.

Los Angeles has never been a Gay Games host.

The region is also in the running to host the Olympic Games in 2024.

The organizing committee, LA 2024, has proposed beach volleyball and the triathlon races for Santa Monica (“Olympics Could Come to Santa Monica in 2024,” June 20, 2016).

Olympic competitions took place in Santa Monica in 1984 and 1932. This included a portion of the the first-ever women’s marathon in 1984. Runners began the 26.2-mile journey at Santa Monica College.


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