The last Gay Games was held in Cleveland; this year, athletes are headed to Paris. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
In three weeks, athletes from D.C. will take on competitors from around the world at the 10th edition of the Gay Games in Paris.
The Gay Games are held every four years and the venues in Paris will host 12,000 athletes from more than 80 countries who will compete in 36 sports.
Local athletes from multiple sports will march in the opening ceremonies together under the D.C. banner in a uniform that was organized by Team DC.
John Guzman is slated to compete in his third Gay Games and is embracing a new sport in Paris. Previously, he competed in soccer and squash. He is now a member of Lambda Links and will be golfing individually along with playing in the team event with his partner, Steve Sparks.
“The Ryder Cup is being held in Paris in September and the golf superintendent is gay. He is opening the course to all the Gay Games participants after our competition is over. I am so geeked out to play on that course,” says Guzman. “Our community has multiple things that tie us together and I love that the Gay Games offers commonalities that can be built in other ways.”
The water polo competition will include 32 teams competing in two divisions. Kris Pritchard will be attending his second Gay Games with his teammates from the Washington Wetskins.
“Now more than ever, this event is an opportunity for the LGBT community to show the world what it means to put aside the differences our countries might have,” Pritchard says. “It’s going to be an amazing week and I tip my hat to the volunteers and organizers who are involved to make this happen.”
David Monroe will travel to Paris with players from the DC Sentinels basketball team. Members from their squads have medaled in the last two Gay Games.
“I was at the Gay Games in Amsterdam in 1998 and Chicago in 2006. I look forward to seeing how the gay community is still coming together for inclusive competition and fun,” says Monroe. “It will be a great 10 days.”
The triathlon in Paris will be contested in the sprint distance and Olympic distance. Bryan Frank from TriOut will be competing in his second Gay Games.
“It will be exciting to take on an Olympic distance triathlon outside of Paris and defend my title after winning the race in Cleveland four years ago,” Frank says. “I am also thrilled at the prospect of exploring more of the Games, seeing other events, meeting athletes and experiencing Paris.”
This will be the third Gay Games for Federal Triangles Soccer Club player Jim Ensor after competing in Cologne in 2010 and Cleveland in 2014.
“I look forward to the competition and camaraderie of an international competition. It’s such a delicate balance to compete in friendship.” Says Ensor. “I love seeing how the Games are incorporated into the city and surrounding areas along with how it is received by the city.”
Mick Bullock and his partner Justin Fritscher will be tackling their first Gay Games as members of the DC Front Runners. Both will compete in the 5K and the half marathon.
“We do everything together and running is one of our passions. We are excited to see Europe for the first time and be with over 20 of our teammates from DC Front Runners,” Bullock says. “The Gay Games are a great opportunity to come together for healthy competition and meet athletes from all over the world.”
At the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland, Logan Dawson competed with the Denver team in swimming. After moving to D.C., he joined the District of Columbia Aquatics Club in late 2017. His second Gay Games will be with his new teammates.
“I have bonded with my DCAC teammates and would feel like I was missing out if I wasn’t going with them to Paris,” says Dawson. “It’s neat to be at a sports event that is more than a swim meet and I look forward to meeting international athletes from other sports.”
Tim Murphy married Chris Walsh last month and both of them will be competing in their first Gay Games. They are members of Capital Tennis Association and will be playing singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
“We are looking forward to meeting people who have come from all over the world to play sports. It will be great to represent our country in the parade of athletes at the opening ceremonies,” Murphy says. “This is going to be part sports event and part honeymoon for us.”
Gay Games X: Paris 2018 will be held from Aug. 4-11.