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Team Seattle Success at Montreal Outgames

Montreal, July-August 2006 – Kelly Stevens Co-Chair Team Seattle

Expectations for the first Outgames in Montreal were very high. Never before had a government offered so much financial support for a LGBT event.  In the United States we speak of red states and blue states. Montreal is a dark blue city, in a dark blue province.  Montreal does not just tolerate diversity, they celebrate it.  Montreal had welcoming signs on the floors and wall of the airport for Outgames participants.  The opening ceremony was on July 29 was remarkable. The event was held at the 1976 Olympic stadium in Montreal and the light show, cameras, and large screens were very impressive.  The athletes marched in to cheers and music with a darkened floor where we marched in the large floor area circling around for all of the audience.  he speeches were a bit long and a bit too French, for most of the athletes, but the folks in the seats were from Montreal and prefer French to English.  The Canadian audience jeered and boo’d as a  representative of the Prime Minister tried to speak.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper was invited, but refused. The mayor of Montreal finally admonished the crowd that we were diverse enough to listen to the representative.  He spoke this in French, but it was clear enough that even the English speaking folks understood his message.  The sound system can never be very good in a stadium so large, but every loved Martha Walsh and Katie Lang’s performances.  Other Canadian
stars gave great performances.  The feeling was exciting and everyone was in great spirits for the Outgames to begin.
The week of competition began and the sports facilities from the 1976 Olympics were used in many venues, and were wonderful. Seattle competed in Soccer, Swimming, and Track and Field, Dance, Bridge, 10K, 5K, Marathon, cross country running, Triathlon, and Marathon.  The Outgames had 27 percent of the athletes coming from Europe, 19 percent from the U.S. and 39 percent from Canada, and 15 percent from other.  It had more European athletes than Gay Games.  Many did not want to travel to the U.S. due to the war in Iraq or they felt Montreal was a better place for LGBT travelers.
Montreal as a city is amazing and for tourists it is a great vacation location, especially for LGBT folks. The Village is the gay area, and it is huge, and well structured with endless restaurants and some of the largest “complex” type bars in the world.  They have a bar called Sky Complex that is 4 stories and has a swimming pool and hot tub on the roof!

Montreal also setup Viger Square with a nice stage for live performances every night and a central place for early evening gatherings.  They setup large screen televisions in several locations of the city including Viger Square and St. Catherine Street in the Village to play endless video of previous day’s sports events, announcements and awards ceremonies.  It was very impressive and one could clearly see the money the government of Quebec, Canada, and Montreal were willing to spend to create a wonderful first Outgames. Each sports village area was setup with information booths and souvenirs stands.
The overall organization of sporting competition was really wonderful.  Few scheduling problems occurred, even with the rainy weather.  The heat and humidity were as bad as Chicago, but the athletes all prevailed.  Montreal had drinks for sale at all of the venues. Having multiple sports in each area allowed athletes to watch other competition.  Montreal is well organized for sports.
Montreal shut down the city streets for the Marathon route on Saturday August 5.   It was the Olympic route and finished at the Olympic stadium.  The amazing thing was they did all this for only 92 marathon racers.  The participation was low due to expected heat, however the heat wave broke on Friday and the weather was 70 and low humidity for the race.  It was still impressive for the city to use 250 police and 500 volunteers to keep the route safe.  The 2nd half of the route had 250 half- marathon folks and the last 10K had another 260 10K racers as they merged all the races into the same route to the stadium.
Seattle Frontrunners (SFR) were the dominant group in Track and Field and also the majority of athletes from Seattle.  SFR is very well organized and plans events and training early.  The coach Len Tritsch is 81 and has been coaching track for
over 40 years. He is also still an athlete and competes and wins.  The Seattle Frontrunner Track Team decided to attend Outgames long ago and prepared diligently for competition.   Seattle Frontrunners took home over 120 medals, with 80 in Gold, and the rest split with Silver and Bronze medals.  The track field was full of Seattle uniforms every day,  dominating the competition at all age groups.  They did the same thing in Sydney for Gay Games VI in 2002.  Seattle
Frontrunners dominated the competition in all age groups.
The closing ceremony in Montreal was not quite as exciting as the opening, but it was a great way to finish the week with the rest of the Team.  It also had few attendees in the stadium due to Montreal Diversity week events in the Village. 
It ended a fantastic week at a very LGBT affirming city.  Montreal is an excellent choice for LGBT travelers and also for the Outgames athletes in the future.

Team Seattle would like to thank Road Runner Sports, Pride Foundation, Gay City, and GSBA for their sponsorship and support of Team Seattle in the Gay Games and Outgames 2006.

Other Outgames Montreal Results

Triathlon Olympic Distance Seattle Medalists

Gold – Betsy Brace age 50-54 and 94th overall 3:04:43
- Jake Bartholomy age 30-34 and 3rd overall 2:16:01
-Chris Breseman in age 25-29 and 13th overall   2:25:26
Bronze – Andy McKim age 50-54 66th overall 2:46:01


Triathlon Sprint Distance Seattle Medalists
- Valerie Richie age 50-54 14th overall 1:17:55
Marian Quarrier 4th age 45-49 65th overall 1:31:23

Sprint Relay Seattle Medalists
- Rob Reynolds

Gold - Curt Johnson 57:11.9 age 60-64 men
Bronze - Phil Brennan 40-44 age and 6th overall 37:18.4

Other folks from Seattle won Gold medals in Bridge. Yes, Outgames also had bridge competition. 
We also had medals in Country Line dance in Montreal.


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