World Outgames Montreal closes and looks to Copenhagen '09

Anthony Cuesta | August 08, 2006

Mark Tewksbury, Co-President of the 1st World Outgames
MONTREAL — It�s mission accomplished for the 1st World Outgames Montr�al 2006, which wrapped up Saturday with the Closing Ceremony.

�We are very proud to announce that we have reached our participation and attendance targets with more than half a million people at the sport competitions and cultural activities, 18,599 participants from 111 countries as conference delegates, athletes, volunteers or participants in the cultural programme,� said Mark Tewksbury, Co-President of the 1st World Outgames in media statement issued over the weekend.

For 11 days, Montr�al hosted of a major international event combining sport, culture and human rights. Saturday night's closing ceremony featured a performance by music and big screen legend Liza Minnelli.

The International Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Human Rights from July 26 to 29 brought together 1,516 participants from every corner of the globe to discuss the worldwide situation of LGBT people. The thirty-five sport disciplines drew 10,248 athletes, while 835 people came together for the cultural component of the program. Some 5,200 volunteers worked tirelessly at all the events.

�The 1st World Outgames Montr�al would not have known the success it has had without the exceptional contribution of its volunteers and partners and the unwavering support of the entire Montr�al community. Thanks to this financial and logistical support, the 1st World Outgames have and will continue to have a significant social and economic impact for Montr�al, Qu�bec and the all of Canada,� said Louise Roy, CEO of the organization in a media statement.

The 1st World Outgames were presented by the Government of Canada, the Government of Qu�bec, the City of Montr�al, Radio-Canada and Tourisme Montr�al. The organization also worked in partnership with Bell Canada, Labatt Breweries, CGI, the STM and Solotech.

Throughout the city, organizers said, the passion for the event was obvious.

�Participants were impressed by the warm welcome they received from Montrealers and the organizers� top-notch preparations for the games,� said Tewksbury.

Sports disciplines were officially sanctioned by provincial and national sport federations, which meant that any records broken would be officially recorded, as was the case in swimming on August 4 when American Daniel Veatch beat a world record in the 200m backstroke in his age category. Competitions were held at 41 sites throughout the city.

�Montr�al has once again demonstrated its ability to host a major international event in a festive spirit of friendship, celebrating sport, culture and human rights,� said Roy. �The incredible welcome that the Outgames received from the city and its citizens will further enhance Montr�al�s reputation as an open and welcoming city.�

According to Tewksbury, hosting the Outgames also allowed Montr�al to further establish the city as a prime destination for the LGBT community. �Montr�al will enjoy significant social and economic benefits, both in the short and medium term.�

The next World Outgames will be held in Copenhagen in 2009. In recognition of this, the Mayor of Culture and Leisure of Copenhagen, Martin Geerson, was officially handed, during the Closing Ceremony, GLISA�s official flag, by the Mayor of Montr�al, G�rald Tremblay. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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