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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 13, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 33
Seattle athletes bring home gold at Gay Games
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Seattle athletes bring home gold at Gay Games

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Gay Games VIII in Cologne, Germany ended on Saturday, August 7 with a closing ceremony attended by 10,000 people. Athletes from 70 nations participated in the ceremony amidst the cheers of thousands. Athletes from Seattle participated in the games in multiple events.

"It was a fantastic experience. My first games were in Chicago. It's something that once you experience it, you really want to experience it again," said Jason Stone, a swimmer with Seattle's Orca Swim Team.

"Around 120 Seattle-area athletes attended," Seattle Frontrunner Kelly Stevens told SGN.

From basketball to bridge, swimming to track, athletes were representing the Emerald City in full swing.

"It's about participation inclusion and personal best," said Stone about the games.

Stone competed in both the 100- and 200-meter freestyle events and the 50- and 100-meter butterfly events.

"Swimming is one of the most competitive sports and represents the largest sport of the games, with competition spanning a full six days," said Jim Lasersohn of the Orcas. "Knowing the competition would be difficult, we were there to enjoy participating and to strive to do our personal bests."

"I was happy to have placed fifth in my age group in two events and beat my best time in the 1,500-meter freestyle by 25 seconds," added Lasersohn.

The Orcas sent seven swimmers to the games.

"This particular time seemed to be a little more rich. & I was swimming every day. & It was really fantastic to connect with the Gay and Lesbian swimmers, my friends from all over the world, friends from Australia to Iceland to Russia. & These are people that I've gotten to know thought International Gay and Lesbians Aquatics," Stone told SGN.

Basketball was where Seattle took a bit of the spotlight.

"We sent two teams and both won medals," said Michael Coleman of Jet City Hoops.

According to Coleman, in the recreational division, Jet City won a gold medal, and in the men's 35+ division, they won a bronze medal.

"[This was the] first time any team from Seattle has won a medal in basketball at the Gay Games," said Coleman.

The closing ceremony of the Gay Games also featured out Gay athletes Matthew Mitcham, one of the few openly Gay Olympic medalists, David Kopay, a former NFL (and former UW Husky) running back and one of the first professional athletes to come out (in 1975), and John Amaechi, the first openly Gay player in the NBA.

At the end of the ceremony, the flames were extinguished and the flag of the Federation of Gay Games was passed to hosts of the Gay Games IX, Cleveland, Ohio.

"Being able to compete with my teammates on an international level was a lot of fun. & It's a very validating sort of experience," said Stone. Stone is also a volunteer for the Federation of Gay Games and was awarded the Male 2010 volunteer of the Year Award for the Federation of Gay Games.

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