Cleveland city leaders have given their OK to move forward with a plan to compete as host city for the 2014 Gay Games.

The Gay Games is the brainchild of Dr. Tom Waddell, a college football player who went on to place sixth in the 1986 Summer Olympic's decathlon competition. The international sporting event originally called the Gay Olympics was first held in San Francisco during the Summer of 1982.

Cologne, Germany has been selected to host the next event in 2010, where an estimated 15,000 athletes are expected to participate in 28 sporting contests.

The City of Chicago, which last hosted the event in 2006, estimates 140,000 spectators attended the event with an overall economic impact of $50-to-$80 million. But lower than expected participation and attendance is blamed on a last minute change of venue. The Federation of Gay Games moved the event to Chicago after it failed to reach agreement on several key issues with Montreal, Canada organizers.

The Cleveland Synergy Foundation in collaboration with the City of Cleveland and Positively Cleveland – a gay and lesbian outreach program by the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau that markets the city to gay tourists – prepared the bid.

“Congratulations to the Cleveland Synergy Foundation for their leadership in making Cleveland a finalist for the 2014 Gay Games,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Our impressive selection of non-chain restaurants, beautiful lakefront views, world class museums and sports arenas and the ease of mobility from one venue to the next will deiver an experience that is uniquely Cleveland.”

Leaders with the Cleveland Synergy Foundation will now travel to Cape Town, South Africa next week to present their bid at the Federation of Gay Games' annual meeting.

The cities of Boston and Miami are also competing to host the event.