Photos by Ghislain Bergeron, Guy Pomerleau (pic #3), Frédéric Dumont (pic #1)
The traditional Olympic event had also a place on the OutGames with participants competing in almost 1000 positions.
To be noted the participation of the 40-44 age group that was the more representative not only on more "technical" events like Javelin, Long Jump and Discus Throw but also on 400, 800, 1500 and 5000m races. On the "faster" events (200 and 100m) the age shifts to 30-34 years.
Also offered was the special OutGames "Relay 800m Medley Mixed" with teams of 2 women and 2 men, with 1 man doing 400m, another 200m and the 2 women 100m each.
Each participant could be registered in up to 5 events.
Photos by Claude Ferron and Michel Ferland (last pic)
If Track and Field is a popular Olympic event, for sure Swimming is *the* OutGames event with about 5000 positions and clubs with catching names like Aqua Libido - Germany, Different Strokes - Canada/USA, Gay Swim Amsterdam - Netherlands, Glamourhead Sharks - Australia, Gay Sport - Zurich, Gruppo Pesce - Italy, Team Auckland Master Swimmers - New Zealand, San Francisco Tsunami Masters - USA, Wett Ones - Australia and Upstream Amsterdam - Netherlands, not forgetting the locals EBSC, Making Waves, DSC Toronto and À Contre-Courant (with more than 100 participants!). Like in Track and Field events follow the Olympic categories with the added bonus of a Mixed Relays.
A side-event is the OutSplash! extravaganza that is open for free for every participant (athlete or coach) of Swimming, Synchronized Swimming, Diving or Water Polo. Imagine a dozen teams of 30 to 60 experienced swimmers, from all four aquatic disciplines, transformed just for this unique occasion. Refreshing 5-minute performances, in and out of the water, with acrobatics, humor, choreography and costumes that are bound to amaze and entertain the audience. We hope to have more about this in one of the following reports.
As a plus to this popularity of Swimming in the OutGames are the names of two top swimmers: Ingi Thor Jonsson (Iceland) and Mark Tewksbury (Canada). Both have joined forces with other Olympic athletes like Robert Dover (USA - 4 medals) and started the "Out Proud Olympians" a worldwide LGBT group of former and current Olympic participants, whose aim is to eliminate homophobia in sport, and encourage not only active healthy living in the LGBT community, but facilitate participation of this group at major sporting events. Their main goal is to reduce the barriers that inhibit LGBT people from experiencing their own Olympic dreams as an "out" athlete or participant.