Out Olympian Greg Louganis appeared Saturday at Cleveland's City Club as the Gay Games 9 got underway.

Louganis, who won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games, came out at the Gay Games held in New York in 1994.

The Gay Games has “been a tradition for me,” Louganis told the crowd. “This is where I came out and spoke publicly about my sexual identity. There is a great history here, and I want to continue that history in the spirit of [Gay Games founder] Dr. Tom Waddell,” Louganis said. “It was Dr. Tom's dream to build self-esteem through sports. He wanted to help prevent teen suicide. We've come so far in the United States.”

(Related: Obama helps open Gay Games 9.)

Louganis added that he does not see the event, held every four years, as a gay rights protest but rather a celebration.

“The organizers stress that everyone is welcome. They welcome all with open arms,” Louganis said. “I don't view the Gay Games as a protest, because it's inclusive. It's not about being gay. It's about inclusion. We have a lot of straight athletes who participate. It's a celebration of our commonality.”