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Team D.C. athletes capture 231 medals at Paris Gay Games

Area swimmers shatter 15 IGLA records at quadrennial summit

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

Washington-area athletes at this month’s Gay Games in Paris. (Washington Blade photo by Kevin Majoros)

The 10th edition of the Gay Games ended on Aug. 11 in Paris. About 10,000 athletes from 91 countries vied for medals in 36 sports.

Athletes from Team D.C. hauled in 231 medals in 13 sports with the swimmers from District of Columbia Aquatics Club leading the way with 121 medals. The swimmers competed at the swimming venue of the 1924 Olympics and D.C. swimmers shattered 15 IGLA (International LGBT Aquatics) world records.

“I think Team DC represented very strong and we had a very diverse group of athletes. I am so proud of everyone,” says Brent Minor, founder and executive director of Team D.C. who was attending his seventh Gay Games. “It was nice meeting people who were competing at the Gay Games for the first time. These Games completely reinforced my belief that this event is good for our community, especially on an international scale. It’s nice to be reminded of that every four years.”

A couple things noted this year were that Team D.C. had sports couples competing together in swimming, rowing, golf, tennis, road running and volleyball.

Also noted from conversations with athletes from around the world is that some older athletes are switching to sports that have less impact on their bodies. Their desire to compete is still strong and they are finding new sports to remain tied to the Gay Games.

The next edition of the Gay Games will be contested in Hong Kong in 2022 and marks the first time that the event has been held in Asia.

A Gay Games reunion and celebration party is in the works for mid-September for all the D.C. athletes and their friends.

Below is a list of the Team D.C. medal winners.

Swimming

Sara Hewitt – 3 Gold, 4 Silver, 1 Bronze

Craig Franz – 6 Gold

Jay Fisette – 4 Gold, 4 Silver

Matt Kinney – 2 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Logan Dawson – 3 Gold, 2 Bronze

Barry Haddan – 4 Gold, 1 Silver

Neill Williams – 6 Gold, 1 Silver

Noura Hemady – 5 Gold, 3 Silver

Dawson Nash – 2 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze

Amr El-Sayed – 6 Gold, 1 Silver

Patrick Barrett – 2 Gold, 1 Silver

Tommy Scibilia – 3 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze

Jerry Frentsos – 8 Gold

Jeff Mead – 4 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Jay Calhoun – 3 Gold

Corey Carlisle – 3 Gold, 1 Silver

Kevin Majoros – 3 Gold

Arthur Staub – 3 Gold

Jack Markey – 2 Gold, 1 Silver

Brent Quinn – 1 Silver

Eric Czander – 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze

John Tustin – 1 Gold

Drew Fitzmorris – 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze

Greg Koch – 1 Gold

Fred Dever – 2 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze

Open Water Swimming

Jay Calhoun – 1 Gold

Drew Fitzmorris – 1 Bronze

Craig Franz – 1 Gold

Soccer

Earl Armstrong – 1 Silver

John Corr – 1 Silver

Geoff Duvall – 1 Silver

Emory Ellis – 1 Silver

Jim Ensor – 1 Silver

Ross Furbush – 1 Silver

DJ Holland – 1 Silver

Oliver Jacob – 1 Silver

Ian Jenkins – 1 Silver

Kyle McAleese – 1 Silver

Alex Paterson – 1 Silver

Kevin Smith – 1 Silver

Zach Straus – 1 Silver

Mark Summerside – 1 Silver

Kevin Taylor – 1 Silver

Scott Teribury – 1 Silver

Brandon Warner – 1 Silver

John Whitfield – 1 Silver

Craig Williams – 1 Silver

Track & Field

Jeff Dutton – 1 Bronze

Allison Brager – 8 Gold, 1 Silver

Thomas Nguyen – 3 Gold, 1 Bronze

Prakash D’souza – 1 Bronze

Scott Teribury – 1 Silver

Road Running

Lennie Carter – 1 Bronze

Grace Thompson – 1 Silver

Joan Bellsey – 1 Gold

Maura Hackett – 2 Bronze

Fencing

Andrew Byun – 1 Bronze

Golf

John Guzman – 1 Gold, 1 Bronze

Steve Sparks – 1 Bronze

Paul Sliwka – 1 Bronze

Triathlon

Leslie Hill – 1 Bronze

Hunter Gaiotti – 1 Bronze

Bryan Frank – 1 Gold

Philip Deeter – 1 Bronze

Bowling

Matthew Todd-Adrik – 1 Bronze

Tennis

Reese Scott – 2 Gold

Tim Murphy – 1 Silver

Mateo Barney – 1 Bronze

Robbie Cao – 1 Bronze

Vincent Travaglione – 1 Bronze

Rowing

Jeff Morrison – 2 Silver, 1 Bronze

Steve O’Banion – 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Joey Bowman – 1 Silver

Pedro Falto – 2 Silver

Brian Hackney – 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Joseph McGuirk – 1 Silver, 2 Bronze

Berin Szoka – 1 Bronze

Samir Bitar – 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Jude Graham – 1 Silver

Rondel Milton – 1 Silver

Nate Swinton – 1 Silver

John Lucier – 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Lindsay Cochrane – 1 Silver, 1 Bronze

Volleyball

Bill Christmas – 1 Gold

Mike Snyder – 1 Gold

John Wang – 1 Gold

Jason Tolton – 1 Gold

Alex Benjamin – 1 Gold

Jesse Anderson – 1 Gold

Gabriel Saucedo – 1 Gold

Eric Brielmann – 1 Gold

Will Hansen – 1 Gold

Steve Post – 1 Bronze

Kevin Galens – 1 Bronze

Kent Hansen – 1 Bronze

Michael Gordon – 1 Bronze

Adam Bocek – 1 Bronze

Tim Claus – 1 Bronze

Jack Fleming – 1 Bronze

Kyle Anthony – 1 Bronze

George Atiyeh – 1 Gold

David Chang – 1 Gold

Joshua Schwartz – 1 Gold

Austin Bowen – 1 Gold

Tyler Jacob – 1 Gold

Lynn Katoa – 1 Gold

Julian Dawson – 1 Gold

Tim Mechlinski – 1 Gold

Basketball

Tim Francis – 1 Silver

David Monroe – 1 Silver

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A Revolution for Women in Baseball

Last week, they announced that Rachel Balkovec will become the first woman to manage a team in minor league baseball.

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Rachel Balkovec was hired as a hitting coach in the Yankees’ system in 2019. She will now manage the Class A Tampa Tarpons.Credit. Photo Courtesy of Rachel Balkovec/Instagram.

The Yankees were late on introducing an African-American player to their roster, adding Hall of Famer Elston Howard to the team in 1955, eight years after Jackie Robinson starred for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  The Yankees seem determined not to repeat that bad history.  Last week, they announced that Rachel Balkovec will become the first woman to manage a team in minor league baseball when she takes the helm of the Tampa Tarpons this spring. 

It has been just over ten years since Justin Siegal threw batting practice to the Cleveland Guardians and five since she was the first woman to coach a MLB squad with the Oakland Athletics.  Two years ago, Kim Ng became the first female General Manager of any of the four major professional sports when the Marlins hired her to run their team.  In the two years since then, the dam has burst.  Women have been hired to important on-field positions with professional baseball at an impressive clip.  As baseball has lagged behind other professional sports in bringing women into the game, the current pace of hires indicates that baseball’s embrace of analytics and objective measures have finally penetrated the walls of one of the most enduring old boys clubs in the U.S. and given talented women opportunities they have long been denied.

Ten women will be coaching with major or minor league teams in 2022.  In 2021, Bianca Smith became the first African-American woman to coach in the minors when the Red Sox hired her. Alyssa Nakken became the first woman in uniform during a Major League Baseball game when she coached first base for the Giants in a July 2020 exhibition against the Oakland A’s.  Her jersey now belongs to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Cuban-American Veronica Alvarez is not only the coach of the U.S. Women’s National Baseball team, she also served as a spring training coach for the Oakland A’s.

The proliferation of women in baseball is not an accident.  More girls than ever are playing baseball.  Here, in the DC area, 160 girls participated with D.C. Girls Baseball in 2021.  Baseball for All, an organization that supports and promotes girls in baseball, held a tournament last summer that drew nearly 600 girls who play baseball.  There are more women than ever on collegiate baseball rosters.  Major League Baseball has also devoted significant resources to girls and women in baseball, running several development camps for girls in baseball.  Six of the women now coaching professional baseball participated in MLB’s Take the Field initiative, which is designed to help place women into baseball positions. To top it all off, the classic film about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, A League of Their Own, is getting a reboot on Amazon Prime this year.

The pace of hiring is exhilarating.  Unfortunately, every report of a woman being hired is followed by predictable hateful commentary on social media.  Many cannot imagine that a woman may be hired for a baseball position on merit and resort to making sexist and derogatory comments.  As women in baseball, the coaches are used to that vitriol and have developed thick skin and sophisticated defense mechanisms.  However, also reading are thousands of girls who are inspired by the achievements of these women and they are, sadly, learning that to achieve in baseball means enduring the sexist taunts, gross come-ons, and hurtful comments.

Baseball has a long way to go.  Other leagues have women officiating games, so it should be reasonable to expect that baseball will have women umpires in the near future.  The possibility of women playing professional baseball is tantalizingly close as 17 year old Genevieve Beacom made history last week as the first women to play Australian professional baseball, when she threw a scoreless inning against the Adelaide Giants.

We are watching a revolution in baseball unfold before our eyes. 

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Gus Kenworthy skis for Great Britain at 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

The freestyle skiing Olympic medalist continues to advocate for sport to become a more accepting place for openly gay athletes

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Gus Kenworthy (Screenshot courtesy Beijing Olympic Winter Games/IOC)

Out British-American freestyle skier, actor, and YouTuber Gus Kenworthy, will be competing in his third Olympic Winter Games, but his first for Team GB next month for the 2022 Beijing Games. In 2014 and 2018 Kenworthy represented the USA where during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games in Russia he became an Olympic Silver Medalist.

In an interview recorded in December, Kenworthy stressed his personal mantra of ‘Let people be themselves.’ The freestyle skiing Olympic medalist continues to advocate for sport to become a more accepting place for openly gay athletes.

Having recently won bronze in slopestyle for Team USA at PyeongChang 2018, Kenworthy is aiming for another podium place at his “third and final Games”, where he’s focusing on halfpipe at Beijing 2022, representing Great Britain. Kenworthy said with quiet determination that this year’s Winter Games will be his last as an Olympic competitor.

Kenworthy joins a “record number” of openly LGBTQ+ athletes heading to the Beijing games, Outsports reported. The 2018 Winter Olympics featured 15 out queer athletes, and Outsports noted that the Beijing games will see more openly LGBTQ+ athletes than previously Winter Games.

PinkNewsUK notes that there was a question as to whether Kenworthy would be able to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics, which kick off in February.

Just weeks ago, Kenworthy shared in an Instagram post that he recently got a “bad concussion” while at a training camp in Switzerland.

He explained that he’s had a “few serious” traumatic brain injuries in the past so the “seriousness of each added concussion has been stressed to me”.

 

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Out professional soccer player calls out ‘homophobic abuse’ from crowd

The Adelaide United player said he had “no words” to describe his disappointment at being the target of anti-gay insults from the crowd

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Photo courtesy of Josh Cavallo Instagram

Professional soccer player Josh Cavallo, who became the only openly gay top-flight male professional footballer last year, told his Instagram followers over the weekend that he experienced “homophobic abuse” during his last game. 

The Adelaide United player said he had “no words” to describe his disappointment at being the target of anti-gay insults from the crowd at AAMI Park during his team’s Saturday game against the Melbourne Victory.

“As a society it shows we still face these problems in 2022,” he wrote. “This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold these people accountable. Hate never will win. I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.”

Cavallo added that he was also targeted after the game online. 

“To @instagram I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I’ve received,” he said. “I knew truely being who I am that I was going to come across this. It’s a sad reality that your platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) said it was “shocked and saddened” to hear Cavallo’s reports of “homophobic bullying,” according to the Guardian

“Our players, staff and fans have the right to feel safe on and off the pitch,” APL CEO Danny Townsend said. “There is no place for bullying, harassment or abuse in Australian football and we have zero tolerance for this harmful behaviour.”

The APL is working with both teams to investigate the incident, adding that sanctions will be issued to anyone involved. 

In a statement, Adelaide United Chief Executive Officer Nathan Kosmina said that the team was “appalled” at the “verbal abuse” that Cavallo received. 

“Adelaide United is proud to be an inclusive and diverse football club, and to see one of our players subjected to homophobic abuse is disappointing and upsetting,” he said. “Josh continues to show immense courage and we join him in calling out abuse, which has no place in society, and it will not be tolerated by our Club.”

The Melbourne Victory added that it “sees football as a platform to unite fans no matter what background. Spectators found to have breached these standards will be banned from future matches.”

At the end of his Instagram message, Cavallo thanked those sending him positive messages, love and support. 

“Love will always win,” he said. 

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