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Three cities submit bids to host 2010 Gay Games, without rowing

16 March 2005 | glrfcentral
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Three cities submitted bids to the Federation of Gay Games for the opportunity to host the 2010 Gay Games: Cologne, Paris, and Johannesburg. None of the bids listed rowing as one of the featured sports. Each bid follows a standard request-for-proposal protocol that provides certain standards and requirements. The bids require both a sports and cultural programme. The sports programme consists of 22 mandated, core sports, and up to 8 additional sports that bidders can select from a qualified list of sports. Rowing is not one of the core sports. It is one of the listed additional sports.


The Cologne bid is perplexing because the city has a FISA Class A rowing stadium that hosted the World Masters in 1998. The GLRF FGG delegate visited the Fuehlinger See rowing facility during the November 2004 annual meeting of the Federation of Gay Games. It is a top-notch facility with large return lanes and side lagoons for warm up and practice. To add insult to injury, several of the sports events in the bid will be held at the Fuehlinger See facility: Road Races, Triathlon, Inline-Skating, and Golf. The Cologne Bid included all 22 core sports and 8 selected additional sports: Beach Volleyball, Billiards, Chess, Climbing, Dancing, Handball, Inline Skating, and Table Tennis.


The Paris bid would seem to be a startling surprise given France’s strong rowing federation and the number of rowing clubs around Paris. Unfortunately, the practical realities of rowing regattas for the Paris environs are limited. There are only so many regattas allotted to various rowing clubs and only one regatta is permitted on the Seine each year. The new Olympic rowing facility just outside of Paris, which is currently under construction, will still not be available in 2010. The Paris bid included 21 out of the 22 core sports and only 6 of the available 8 spots for additional sports: Dancing, Handball, Rugby, Sailing, Synchronized Swimming, and Table Tennis.


The Johannesburg bid is a huge disappointment because the rowing facilities, although a fair distance from the Johannesburg City Centre, are tremendous, located on a large lake with plenty of space for practice and long rows. Given the historically repressive culture in South Africa, it is understandable that there is not an immediate, visible gay/lesbian rowing community to support a regatta. However, regatta organization and execution has almost nothing to do with sexual orientation and almost everything to do with effective planning and support. The Johannesburg bid included all 22 core sports and only 3 of the available 8 spots for additional sports: Beach Volleyball, Field Hockey, and Rugby.


Given the GLRF active involvement in the Federation of Gay Games since 2000, and the lack of significant other organizational sports representatives for many of the core and additional sports (Badminton, Basketball, Cycling, Golf, Ice Hockey, Physique, Powerlifting, Softball, Squash, Track and Field, Triathlon, Volleyball, Dancing, handball, Rugby, Sailing, Inline Skating, and Table Tennis), it seems odd and perhaps furtive that rowing was not an automatic choice for an additional sport in each of the bids. If there does indeed exist an invisible hand of influence, it remains invisible. Both the Paris and Johannesburg bids have open spots for adding additional sports, and the hosts of the Chicago Gay Games have subsequently added several more sports to the initial 30 sport limit. So the current bids do not preclude an eventual rowing presence at the 2010 Gay Games. The decision to select the 2010 host will take place at the 2005 annual meeting of the Federation of Gay Games in Chicago.


Editor’s note: All rowers are encouraged to register with GLRF so that the world sports bodies can better understand the size and scope of the worldwide gay and lesbian rowing community. Registration is free and takes but a few minutes. All rowers are invited to engage in a discussion on the future of rowing at the Gay Games and the exploration of an independent, worldwide gay and lesbian regatta, to be held quadrennially. Finally, ROW in 2006, in Chicago and/or Montreal. Let’s show the world the true size of a gay and lesbian regatta.


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