The Federation of Gay Games announced on Monday that it has selected Paris, France as the site for its 2018 quadrennial international sports competition – Gay Games X – that’s expected to attract more than 10,000 spectators and athletes.
The announcement came at a ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, which is the site for Gay Games IX set for Aug. 9-16, 2014. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, a strong backer of Cleveland’s winning bid for the games four years ago, was given the honor of making the announcement.
A statement released by the FGG says the organization’s board of directors and international delegates representing LGBT sports groups from countries throughout the world voted Monday to select Paris as the host city following a lengthy process of reviewing bids from five cities.
Earlier this year, Orlando, Fla. and Amsterdam, Holland were eliminated from contention, leaving Paris, London and Limerick, Ireland as finalists leading up to this week’s vote.
“The international delegates and board of directors of the Federation of Gay Games voted at the end of a three-day meeting featuring site inspection reports, question-and-answer sessions, committee reviews and, a highlight of the event, the oral presentation by each bidding organization,” a statement issued by the FGG says.
“Paris proposed a wide range of sports in quality venues, many of which offer good visibility for the event,” the statement says. “French LGBT sport organizations already have a great deal of experience hosting international multi-sport tournaments, and their LGBT community presents outstanding cultural events…And of course Paris is a great destination to visit or revisit,” it says.
The statement adds that the French team promoting the bid came with “demonstrable political support, including Minister for Sport Valerie Fourneyron and five-time Olympic fencing medalist Laura Flessel, who were part of the presentation team.”
The statement praised organizers of the bids from London and Limerick, saying the quality of their bids was “superb.”
Les Johnson, the FGG’s co-chair for external affairs and a delegate for Team D.C., a coalition of D.C.-area LGBT sports groups, said he expects as many as 500 attendees from the D.C. area to participate in next year’s Gay Games in Cleveland.
Johnson said that D.C., which lost its own bid to host the Gay Games to Cleveland four years ago, decided not to bid this year for the 2018 games.
“I believe Washington, D.C. decided not to bid due to our relative geographical closeness to Cleveland,” Johnson told the Blade.
Others involved with Team D.C. have said it would be highly unlikely for the FGG to select a city from the same country for two successive Gay Games.