August 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm EST | by Kevin Majoros
Team DC wins 246 medals at Gay Games
Team DC, Cleveland Gay Games, gay news, Washington Blade

Team DC athletes medaled in 18 sports during this month’s Gay Games held in Cleveland/Akron. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

CLEVELAND — The week before I left for the 2014 Cleveland/Akron Gay Games, a friend of mine told me he hoped I didn’t get shot. I let the comment pass but assumed it was about the assumption that Cleveland is not gay-friendly.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While the Gay Games in Chicago and Cologne were incredible experiences, the residents of those cities really didn’t give us a second glance. In Cleveland, we were cheered as we walked down the street, approached by locals on street corners and chatted up on every public transport.

One night I was leaving Festival Village around 10 p.m. and an elderly couple walked up to me. They wanted to know about all my races, see the medals I won and ask if I had a good time.  Then, the gentleman hugged me and said he was glad I was there. It was completely unexpected but typical of my experiences during the 10 days I was there.

For me, the Gay Games represent a perfect world where everyone is celebrated, everyone is equal and everyone is important. The camaraderie that exists between athletes that have come from all over the world to compete is a feeling that is hard to describe.

With more than 7,000 athletes from 51 countries competing in 35 sports and two cultural events, the sports venues were jam-packed with action. The competitions ranged from beginners to world record-breaking performances.

Team DC was on fire during the week bringing home 246 medals in 18 different sports (see below). The swimmers were especially hot bringing home 111 medals. Neill Williams won eight gold medals in the pool and broke three Gay Games records, two of which were IGLA world records. Williams went directly from the Games to the US Masters Swimming Nationals in College Park where he earned five top four finishes. Several D.C. athletes in other sports captured best overall finish, which means they were faster than everyone in the field.

In the team competitions, the water polo team, the men’s soccer team and the softball team went deep into the draw only to come up short for a medal. The sailing team, the basketball team, the cycling team, the volleyball team and the women’s soccer team all came home with medals.

It truly was a magical week and a beautiful celebration of human rights. For those of us who can’t wait for the 2018 Paris Gay Games, we will be heading to the EuroGames in Stockholm next August.

Of the many inspirational stories I heard during the week, a figure skater I met named David stands out in my mind. He was cheering on his partner who was skating in the pairs competition.  A 6,000-pound machine crushed his foot and he will be amputated below the knee in three weeks. He was supposed to be skating pairs with his partner. At the end of the competition, he turned to me and said, “I will be on the ice in Paris.”

At the closing ceremony as I was saying goodbye to all of my new friends from around the world, a Russian athlete said to me, “The world is getting smaller; we will meet again.”

Thank you Cleveland and Akron.

Team DC, Cleveland Gay Games, gay news, Washington Blade

Team DC swimmers brought home 111 medals at the Gay Games. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Following is a list of the medal winners from the D.C. area:

Swimming

Lindsey Warren-Shriner – 5 Gold

Eric Grasha – Gold, 3 Bronze

Jay Calhoun – 3 Gold, 4 Silver, Bronze

Lucas Amodio – 7 Gold, Silver

Darek Sady – 4 Gold, 2 Silver, Bronze

Neill Williams – 8 Gold

Geoff Heuchling – 3 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze

Mark Remaly – 2 Gold, 3 Silver

Brendan Roddy – 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze

WonKee Moon – 2 Gold, 3 Bronze

Eric Czander – 2 Silver, 2 Bronze

Fred Dever – 3 Gold, 3 Silver

Dawson Nash – 6 Gold, 1 Bronze

Kyle Butts – Gold

Matt Kinney – 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze

Tom Qualey – Gold, 2 Silver, Bronze

Sam Smedinghoff – Gold, 2 Silver, Bronze

Brendan Garvin – Bronze

Rob Jeter – Silver, Bronze

Kei Koizumi – Bronze

Craig Franz – 2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze

Kevin Majoros – 2 Gold, Bronze

Kevin Donlon – Gold, Bronze

Open Water Swimming

Brendan Garvin – Silver

Jay Calhoun – Gold

Kevin Majoros – Gold

Kevin Donlon – Gold

Kei Koizumi – Bronze

Craig Franz – Gold

Dawson Nash – Silver

Rowing

Bach Polakowski – 2 Gold, Silver, Bronze

Kirk Lang – Gold

Leeds Nudd – Gold

Gretchen O’Sullivan – Gold, Silver, Bronze

Brian Fisher – Silver, Bronze

Paul Heaton – Gold, Silver, Bronze

Simon Muller – 2 Gold, Bronze

Christian San Jose – Gold, Bronze

Jeff Sims – Gold, Silver, Bronze

Berin Szoka – Gold, Bronze

Steve Lovett – Bronze

Leigh Cover – Silver, Bronze

Erini Anthopoulos – Silver

Kendra Hunt – Gold, Silver

Kendall Hillier – Gold, Silver

Adrianna Riccio – Gold, Silver

Brendon Burns – Gold

Jarrod Shirk – Gold

Steve O’Banion – Gold

Tony Liao – Gold

Jeff Morrison – 2 Gold

Anthony Wisniewski – Silver

Marvin Bowser – Silver

Rick Ramsey – Silver

Paolo De Matthaeis – Silver

Sailing

Ward Morrison – Silver

Eric Bolda – Silver

Mark Hertzendorf – Silver

Phil Gross – Silver

Tennis

Robbie Cao – Gold, Silver

Tommy Lodge – Gold

Jonathan O’Brien – Gold

Matt Feinberg – Silver, Bronze

TJ Horwood – Bronze

Harrison Nguyen – Gold

Kurt Powers – Gold

Quang Nguyen – 2 Silvers

Brian Langdon – Silver

Stephen Ford – Bronze

Gorman Leung – Gold

Soccer

Sami Holtz – Silver

Sandra Villalobos – Silver

Amanda Hackett – Silver

Megan Kane – Silver

Cara Mauldin – Silver

Volleyball

Kent Hansen – Silver

Mike Snyder – Silver

Steve Post – Silver

Adam Bocek – Silver

Jason Tolton – Silver

Alex Benjamin – Silver

Jason Wiggins – Silver

Kevin Galens – Silver

Jack Fleming – Silver

Basketball

Gerard Burley – Silver

Track & Field

Chris Coates – Silver, 6 Bronze

Figure Skating

Jay Walton – Gold

Golf

Skip Perry – 2 Gold

Marty Ashley – Silver

 

Rock Climbing

Bryan Yamasaki – Gold, Silver

Ben Smith – Bronze

 

Road Running

Brian Beary –  2 Gold

Jeff Dutton – Bronze

Tom Boeke – Silver

Cycling

Marni Harker – 5 Gold

Ann Steiger – Gold, 4 Silver

Chuck Harney – 4 Gold

Bryan Frank – 2 Gold

Racquetball

Roy Hare – 3 Silver

Squash

John Guzman – Bronze

Bowling

CC Ford – Gold, Bronze

Wei Huey – Gold

Vince Sacro – Bronze

Triathlon

Cyrus Thompson – Bronze

Cynthia Johnson – Bronze

Bryan Frank – Gold

Jeremy Stillman – Bronze

Stacy Vasquez – Silver

Leslie Hill – Silver

Darin Slade – Bronze

Christopher Vaughn – Gold

Hunter Gaiotti – Gold

CLICK HERE to see photos from the International Gay Games in Cleveland

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