Article Title:Out Games reports
Author or Credit:Various athletes;
Published on:1st August 2006 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:1361 is publishing a series of impressions and reports received live from a number of New Zealand competitors at the Gay Games in Chicago and the Out Games in Montreal. 5AUG06: Nigel Jeffcoat enjoys Liza at the closing ceremony, looks forward to Copenhagen Well it is now officially over,and it was done in style. The closing ceremony was held this afternoon (Saturday 5 Aug, Sunday NZ time) at the Olympic Stadium. The Co-Presidents of the Montreal Organising Committee, Canadian Olympic swimmer, Mark Tewksbury, and Marielle Dupere, officially closed the Games. Markgave an emotional address, thanking all those who attended for participating in the 1st World Out Games, and looked forward to a series of continental games leading up to the next Out Games in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009. Mark spoke passionately about the spirit of diversity evident during the 11 days of the Out Games programme, which included the Human Rights Conference and games. The main entertainment act of the ceremony was a fabulous performance by the legendary Liza Minnelli! She had the crowd in the palm of her hands as she sang five well-known Broadway songs, culminating in a spirited rendition of 'New York New York.' Other entertainers were Canadian acts, Marjo, Marie-Chantal Toupin, Tracy Young and Melanie Renaud. The atmosphere here in Montreal has been wonderful, with the whole city providing wonderful support to all competitors. These games will be a hard act to follow, but it seems that Copenhagen are up for the challenge, and are very enthusiastic about hosting the 2009 event. Cheers, Nigel [Editor's note: congratulations Nigel on winning silver in the half marathon!] 06AUG06: Games hailed a success by organisers Montreal's inaugural Out Games officially closed last night, with organisers thanking participants, including over 60 New Zealanders, for contributing to a successful eight days of sport and cultural activities. More than 12,000 athletes from 111 countries participated, and organisers report around 500,000 spectators witnessed the event – the largest of its kind since Montreal hosted the Olympic Games in 1976. “It was a gigantic effort,” said Out Games co-president and Canadian Olympic swimmer. “The feedback we're receiving from our participants, which is really our first concern, has been overwhelmingly positive.” “'We Play For Real' is the slogan of these games and it really came to life with the athletes of the world coming here and really raising the bar. Not just in terms of how the competitions were delivered, but in terms of how they competed.” The Games were a source of political controversy, after lesbian singer k. d. lang slammed conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper for passing up his invitation to attend the games. He sent, in his place, Quebec Senator and Public Works Minister Michael Fortier, who was roundly booed when he tried to address the crowd at the Opening Ceremony. The conservative government has come under fire by LGBT rights groups for vowing to allow a ‘free vote' in Parliament aimed at overturning the same-sex marriage legislation, which was introduced by the left-leaning Liberal government last year. “For us to have the visibility with human rights and the sports, it seemed to raise the level of discussion about our issues, which are very serious,” said Tewksbury. This point hit home, after four non-homosexual members of a Montreal water polo team were forced to withdraw from the games after they were overheard marking homophobic comments after a game. During the closing ceremony at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, Liza Minnelli performed the Broadway classic ‘New York, New York' and DJ Tracy Young played to the below-capacity crowd. One athlete, Sylvain, who refused to give his surname, said it was important to put the games in context. “When you come from a country like France or England (being gay is) not so bad. But there are people here from at least 70 countries where it's still criminal… and they were able to live in an open way (this week).” Tewksbury noted the broader theme of the drive for the universal recognition of the fundamental human rights of LGBT people worldwide, as expressed by delegates at the LGBT Rights Conference, staged just prior to, and in conjunction with, the games. “Maybe the Olympics asks us to be better athletes, but the Out Games asks us to be better human beings.” The 2nd Out Games will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009. 06AUG06: Kiwi tally at 45 on final day Kiwi athletes notched up a further 12 medals on the final day of competition at the World's 1st Out Games in Montreal, bringing the total tally to an impressive 45. Wellington swimmers Eve Tregerthan and Karen Moses added to their haul, with Moses winning 3 silver medals (in the 50, 100 and 200m breaststroke) and Tregerthan taking home 2 silvers (50 and 200m freestyle). Also in the pool, Aucklander Berend Westra won double gold in 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle. In triathlon Jan Nisbet and Sally Heppenstall, both of Wellington, won gold and silver respectively, and David Brocharie of Sydney (ex-Christchurch) took out bronze in the sprint triathlon. In the half marathon, Nigel Jeffcoat of Wellington won silver and Michael Small of Auckland won bronze. And, just at hand, Richard Ryan and Mark Hangartner added two medals to the tally – a bronze and a gold in the bridge competition held earlier in the week. The latest medal haul caps of a successful competition for the 60+-strong New Zealand team, many of who also competed at the 7th Gay Games in Chicago, which closed on July 22. The 2nd Out Games will be staged in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009, while the 8th Gay Games will be held in Cologne, Germany, in 2010. 04AUG06: Medals keep flowing for Kiwis Kiwi athletes continue to add to their impressive haul at this yearís Out Games in Montreal, Canada. Four Aucklanders have added a further 8 medals, taking the total medal count to 27, with two more days of competition remaining. Berend Westra performed well in the pool, winning two gold medals (100m backstroke and 100m freestyle) and one silver (200m backstroke). Ron Judd also won three swimming medals ñ gold in the 100m freestyle and silver in both the 50m breaststroke and 100m butterfly. Michael Small added to his medal tally with a bronze in the 5000m track and field event, and Simon Latimer landed a third straight gold medal in his 3m diving event. The final two days of competition feature the finals in squash, swimming and marathon. The closing ceremony will be held tomorrow (Sunday NZST). 4AUG06: Looking forward to Liza Minnelli Two more days of competition left, with more swimming and†squash finals Friday, and the marathon events (10km road race, half and full marathons) on Saturday. Everyone has been enjoying the wonderful inclusive atmosphere of these 1st World Out Games, and will be sad to see them end on Saturday. However, we are all looking forward to the closing ceremony, with the highlight (for the gay men), being a guest appearance from Liza Minnelli! Cheers, Nigel 4AUG06: Third gold for Simon Latimer as he bids Montreal adieu Just to let you know that I won my 3m event today with the help of a few painkillers and a good massage. It was a close and competitive competition, and probably the most fun competition of all. The Games seem to have gone very well. Montrealís gay village has always been in party mode, the boys have been good looking, and the weather great! Tonight is going to be a big night - my last before I leave Canada! Already drinking now! Will be in touch when I return. Bye for now, Simon 03AUG06: Simon Latimer on winning gold, the heat and the camaraderie Bonjour! Just to let you know I had my first day of competition today. I won 2 gold medals – one in the 1m springboard event, and another in the 10m platform event. Both in men's aged 24-29 category. It was a great day. In one of my dives off 10m I scored some perfect tens. So I was quite surprised with that. The diving was a huge event, with massive and noisy crowds. The crowd was really good to me, as several of my closest competitors were Americans, and they were out in force, for cheering opposition it seemed. American divers took silver and bronze in both of my events. I have a slightly sore back, but nothing a few painkillers couldn't fix. So I should be okay to compete in my final event tomorrow (3m springboard). It has been a great event – I have had heaps of friends from Quebec come to watch me. They all knew both me and my friend, who died from cancer, here in Montreal, last year. The weather was a little cooler today - yesterday it was 46 degrees with humidity. So being in a pool has been good. Some NZ members from other Out Games sports came to watch my diving today too. It was great to have them there, and, no doubt, I'll catch some for a few beers tomorrow. I will update again after my final event. Initially I thought 3m would be my best, but I'm not so sure now. I had a great competition from 10m, but the 1m event was quite close, and I expect the 3m to be the same! Cheers, Simon 03AUG06: Akl diver wins double gold in Montreal Auckland diver Simon Latimer has beaten out tough American competition, securing two gold medals for diving at the Out Games, currently being staged in Montreal, Canada. “It was a great day,” said Latimer. “In one of my dives off 10 metres I scored some perfect tens.” Latimer won gold in the 1m springboard event and another in the 10m platform event. “American divers took silver and bronze in both events.” Latimer's success follows an 18-medal haul by Kiwis, since the Games opened – in swimming, track and field, cross country, wrestling, race walking and cycling. Latimer is attending the Games to honour the memory of a close friend – a local Quebecois – who died last year of cancer. Along with discus gold medal winner Don Barclay, he is fronting the New Zealand AIDS Foundation ‘My Health is My Greatest Asset' safe sex campaign, launched to coincide with the Out Games and the 7th Gay Games in Chicago, which ended on July 22. 03AUG06: Kiwi athletes have struck gold, silver and bronze in an impressive 18-medal haul at the inaugural Out Games, which are being staged this week in Montreal. Athletes report soaring temperatures, which has made competing difficult for outdoor events. Eve Tregerthan (Wellington) GOLD 400m freestyle swimming GOLD 100m freestyle GOLD 50m butterfly SILVER 800m freestyle Cynthia Bourne (Auckland) GOLD 1500m freestyle swimming SILVER 800m freestyle BRONZE 400m freestyle Jan Nisbet (Wellington) GOLD 40km cycling road race SILVER 4.3km cycling time trial Michael Small (Auckland) GOLD 10km cross country Jools Joslin (Wellington) GOLD 5km walk race Don Barclay (Wellington) GOLD Discus Ron Judd (Auckland) GOLD 50m butterfly swimming Karen Moses (Wellington) SILVER 200m breaststroke swimming Jills Angus-Burney (Wellington) SILVER 1500m freestyle swimming Stuart Horwood (Auckland) SILVER 10km cross country Paul Andrews (ex-Wellington) BRONZE Wrestling Simon Taylor (Wellington) BRONZE Menís long jump The Out Games continue until this Saturday 5 August 2006. 2AUG07: City blocks closed off for gay and lesbian competitors Today has been the hottest so far, with temperature in the high 30s and high humidity. This has made competing very difficult for people involved in outdoor activities. However, on a positive note, Montreal has a wonderful Metro system (which is free to Out Games competitors), so getting to and from competition venues is very quick and easy. The city of Montreal has really embraced the Out Games, with many shops displaying rainbow flags, and the locals expressing interest in where athletes are from. The Gay Village area is also festooned with Rainbow flags and banners. The main street - Rue Saint Catherine - has been closed off to traffic for about 8 blocks, to form a large pedestrian precinct full of GLBT people, shopping, eating and drinking at the many bars and restaurants that line the street. There is a wonderful supportive atmosphere that everyone is enjoying very much. Even though French is the main language of Montreal, there have been very few problems with being understood, as most Kiwis are trying to, at least, make greetings in French. Tonight the Wellington GayBlacks hosteda barbeque for approximately 60 New Zealandercompetitors and supporters; all had a good time. 30JUL07: Auckland diving competitor Simon Latimer reports on the Out Games opening ceremony in Montreal. Last night we had the opening ceremony! It was an amazing spectacle. Athletes marched in all at the same time from the four corners of the stadium. New Zealand's corner included a lot of nations - a very interesting and colourful Mexican team, and a crazy team of Bulgarians! The New Zealand team was pretty impressive. Around 60 athletes, by my estimate, and a good mix of people. I guess I was probably the youngest athlete, but it was cool to see so many different Kiwis in many different sports. In a way, the NZ team characterised the whole event itself - a diverse group of people all looking to enjoy their sport and do their best. The most impressive part of the ceremony for me was Cirque Du Soleil. As a diver, I'm used to being upside down, but the strength and flexibility of the performers was pretty amazing. Some of the performances were choreographed to fit with the singers too. Martina Navratilova's speech was quite impressive in my mind, and she seemed quite inspirational and gained a lot of applause. Interestingly, a member of the ruling political party of Canada attended and made a speech. Seeing that his party would like to overturn gay marriage rights, the crowd booed him very heavily, and they only stopped booing when the mayor of Montreal asked for them to be quiet. So overall it was a pretty exciting event, with lots of good-looking boys too. I have no idea how many spectators attended, but the roof was in place over the complex, so it was very loud! I'm having a great time in Montreal. Last time I was here it was winter (January). At that time some of the temperatures were as cold as minus 40 degrees. This time round, we have had some days reaching 40 degrees, so that's 80 degrees different! Cheers, Simon 30JUL07: Nigel Jeffcoat of the Wellington GayBlacks was also at the opening ceremony in Montreal. It's a lovely sunny Sunday here in Montreal. The weather here is very hot and at times humid, but so nice after the bad Wellington winter we left behind. The opening ceremony of the 1st World Out Games was held Saturday evening, before a capacity crowd at the Olympic Stadium. 12,000 participants from around the world marched into the stadium, including our New Zealand team of approximately 60, which included expats from Australia and the UK. We were very well received, in our striking black uniforms! A highlight of the opening ceremony was the inspiration speech of gay Canadian Olympic swimmer Mark Tewkesbury, in his capacity as Co-President of the Montreal 2006 Board of Directors (organising committee). Mark made the memorable comment, "When I swam at the Olympics I felt like I was the only one. I don't feel all alone now." Tennis star Martina Navratilova also spoke, and received a huge round of applause from the crowd. On a more controversial note, the crowd booed the representative of the federal government, Michael Fortier, prompting the Mayor of Montreal Gerald Tremblay to plead with the crowd to let the Minister speak. The reason for the crowd's reaction was because he is part of the current conservative government that had opposed gay marriage when they were in opposition. The entertainment was a huge success, with stellar performances by Canadian Lesbian icon k. d. lang, and Cirque du Soleil. The opening ceremony finished at around 11.00pm, and participants headed back into Montreal's Gay Village to party. Early impressions are that the city of Montreal has fully embraced the Out Games, and locals are very happy to have the event in their city. I'll write more soon! Nigel 29JUL07: Government booed as Canada's Out Games open Tens of thousands booed as a conservative government minister took the podium at the opening of the inaugural Out Games in Montreal, Canada, yesterday. They were reacting to the proposed roll back of gay marriage and the refusal of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to attend the Games, instead sending Public Works Minister Michael Fortier, in his place. The crowd of over 40,000, who had packed into Montreal's Olympic Stadium, were beseeched by organisers to stop booing the government's representative, so the ceremony could continue. Canada's LGBT community are upset at the efforts by Harper's conservative government to overturn the same-sex marriage legislation, introduced last year by the left-leaning Liberal party, while they were in power. Lesbian singer k. d. lang, who performed at the ceremony, has recently said Harper's decision not to accept the invitation to attend showed that he had chosen to "support intolerance." The opposition New Democratic Party has slammed the Canadian government for holding up visas for people attending the Games. After an earlier outcry the government finally approved visas for all but those from the African nation of Cameroon. It is a setback for Cameroon, a country where homosexuality is a criminal offence and many gays are refused employment. Canadian law requires the visa applicant to be employed in his or her home country to qualify for entry as a tourist. Representatives of the main opposition parties, Bloc Quebecois and the Liberal Party were welcomed with cheers onto the podium. K.D. Lang headlined the opening ceremony, which featured Cirque du Soleil performances, and local singer Celine Dion lent her support by way of a video message. Lesbian tennis great Martina Navratilova and Canadian Olympian Mark Tewksbury presented a declaration of human rights that was passed on Friday at the International Conference on LGBT rights. The Montreal Declaration says LGBT must be recognised as equals throughout the world, and LGBT rights must form part of a greater quest for a global recognition of fundamental human rights. The inaugural Out Games run until 5 August 2006. Over 12,000 participants from over 100 countries will compete in 35 sports and games, and six cultural events. Dozens of New Zealanders are competing in the Games, many arriving directly from the 7th Gay Games, which closed in Chicago last week. Various athletes; - 1st August 2006    
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