Gay Games make splash on campus

By Hassan S. Ali

Hundreds of athletes and spectators flooded Ratner in July as part of the seventh annual Gay Games Sports and Cultural Festival, hosted in Chicago.

The athletics center was home to the Games’ swimming and martial arts competitions from July 15–22.

Open to participants of all ages, sexual orientations, and athletic abilities, the Gay Games pitted amateurs against the likes of California’s Audy Oktavian, who placed second in the 2000 Olympic swimming trials. Martial arts events included weapons forms, empty hand forms, musical forms, and sparring contests.

Mayor Richard Daley cited the Games as Chicago’s dress rehearsal during a bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

“The Gay Games is like a preview of the Olympics for 2016,” Daley said during a press conference. “It’s like a showcase for us.”