The eighth international Gay Games gets
underway Saturday in Cologne, Germany, even as the next iteration has
come under tighter scrutiny.
Expected to perform during the games'
opening ceremony at RheinEnergie Stadium will be gay icon Taylor
Dayne and Swedish Idol winner Agnes Carlsson. Matthew
Mitcham, the 22-year-old Australian that wowed at the Olympics in
Beijing when he stole the gold from the Chinese, will speak the oath
of the athletes. Germany's openly gay foreign minister, Guido
Westerwelle, will preside over tonight's celebration.
Dayne will perform a new song to
benefit the games. Facing a Miracle was selected by a team of
jurors in search of an anthem for this year's competition.
“I am happy to perform for people who
want to convince through athletic performance and stand up for equal
rights for homosexual people,” Dayne told reporters Saturday at a
“Many gays and lesbians supported my
career from the beginning,” Carlsson, who'll be performing her top
hit Release Me, said. “It's a great honor for me to perform
at the opening ceremony.”
Mitcham said he's “only had positive
experiences” since coming out gay.
“In the past I thought being gay is a
weakness, but I didn't experience any disadvantages after my coming
out,” the Olympic gold medal winner said.
The road to Gay Games 2010 officially
kicked off in February in San Francisco with the start of the
International Rainbow Memorial Run. In the run's first leg, New York
activist Brent Nicholson Earle carried a rainbow flag on a symbolic
run from the AIDS Memorial Grove located in San Francisco's Golden
Gate Park to Kezar Stadium, home of the first Gay Games in 1982.
The flag has traveled around the globe
to reach its final destination and lead the parade of athletes
The week-long celebration of sport is
expected to draw over 10,000 athletes from more than 70 countries
competing in over 35 sporting events.
Gay Games returns to the United States
in 2014, when Cleveland will host the Olympic-style sporting event.
in Cleveland's bid prepared by the Cleveland Synergy Foundation have
threatened the group's participation in sponsoring the event.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Friday that Synergy
representatives were noticeably absent from the city's delegation
traveling to Cologne. However, in a statement released Friday, the
group said it was sending a four-man delegation to receive the Gay
Games' flag during the games' closing ceremony.