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
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.
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
Gold – Betsy Brace age
50-54 and 94th overall 3:04:43
Silver - Jake Bartholomy age 30-34 and 3rd overall
Silver -Chris Breseman in age 25-29 and 13th overall
Bronze – Andy McKim age 50-54 66th overall 2:46:01
Triathlon Sprint Distance
Gold - Valerie Richie age 50-54 14th overall 1:17:55
Marian Quarrier 4th age 45-49 65th overall 1:31:23
Sprint Relay Seattle
Silver - 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.