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FGG press release: Dr. Tom Waddell Award Announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Marc Naimark,  VP for External Affairs, Federation of Gay Games
Email:   marc.naimark@gaygames.net
Phone:   +33 (0) 663 020368

Kelly Murphy-Stevens, Officer of Communications, Federation of Gay Games
Email: Kelly.Stevens@gaygames.net
Phone: +1 206-446-6983

 
 

Federation of Gay Games Dr. Tom Waddell Award Announcement

Gay Games highest award is given to Gene Dermody, San Francisco, USA and Elvina Yuvakaeva, Moscow, Russia


(San Francisco - 25 June 2014)

The Federation of Gay Games is pleased to announce Russian sports activist Elvina Yuvakaeva and American pioneer of LGBT sport Gene Dermody as winners of the 2014 Tom Waddell Award. Named in the memory of the founder of the Gay Games, the Tom Waddell Award is the highest honor bestowed by the FGG. The Dr Tom Waddell Trophy was a gift of the LGBT community of Vancouver, and was first awarded there at Gay Games III in 1990. Since then it has been presented every four years in recognition of the outstanding contributions of men and women to the international Gay Games movement and the FGG’s mission of equality in sport and culture and through sport and culture.
 
                            
Gene Dermody of San Francisco has a lifetime of contributions to LGBT sport and the Gay Games. Dermody has said that the Opening Ceremony of Gay Games I in 1982 changed his life; he has spent every day since then paying forward the gift of Dr Tom Waddell and many others who made that event possible.
 
Dermody has served the Federation of Gay Games in a variety of capacities, including sports officer, technology officer, and president, often at the most trying times in the organization’s history. He has been a key leader in many LGBT sports organizations, including the Golden Gate Wrestling Club, Wrestlers WithOut Borders, and Team San Francisco. In these organizations and in the FGG, he has given selflessly of his time, energy, expertise, at times at a personal and financial cost, always with the goal of sharing the precious tool for personal discovery and empowerment that are the Gay Games.
 
About his experience at the Opening Ceremony in 1982, Gene said: “I had finally come ‘home’ after a very long exile.” For 32 years, Gene has been at the door, welcoming men and women from San Francisco and far beyond to their “home” as part of the Gay Games family.
 
Elvina Yuvakaeva is an accomplished snowboarder who discovered LGBT sport at the 2011 EuroGames in Rotterdam where she competed in badminton. There, she saw the power of sport to promote change by presenting a positive and inclusive image of the LGBT community, and by empowering LGBT athletes.
 
She returned to Russia committed to promoting LGBT sport in her country and now serves as female co-president of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation, where she is in charge of international relations. Earlier this year she served as the chair of the Russian Open Games, the first international LGBT multisport tournament in her country. The Games, held in Moscow in the period between the Olympic and Paralympic Games, aimed to show international solidarity with Russian LGBT people, to fight the rising homophobic repression in the country through sport, and to offer isolated LGBT Russians the opportunity to come together in a supportive environment.
 
The event faced constant attacks from government authorities, with venues and lodgings cancelled at the last minute, bomb scares, and even a smoke bomb attack. Throughout, Elvina and her team responded with calm energy, dignity and restraint, and managed to see the Open Games through to the end.
 
More than thirty years after Gay Games I, in a world in which we see increasing equality and tolerance in some countries accompanied by rising violence and homophobia in others, Elvina, with her fellow co-president of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation Konstantin Yablotskiy and a handful of other brave Russian sportspeople, exemplifies the spirit of Tom Waddell. Like the Gay Games, the Russian Open Games are “games that change the world”.
 
The FGG also thanks for their extraordinary contributions the other finalists for the Tom Waddell Award:
 
Lou Englefield (UK) is an innovator in the production and promotion of LGBT sport events, former co-president of the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation, coordinator of Pride House 2012 in London, and Pride House International.
 
Gert McMullen (USA) is a model of devotion through the NAMES Project and elsewhere, a tireless contributor to the message of compassion of the AIDS Quilt, the creator and recreator of the Gay Games memorial quilt square.
 
Barry Webb (Australia) is the “founding father of gay sport in Sydney”, he has created and guided multiple clubs in New South Wales as well as FGG member organization Team Sydney.
 
Konstantin Yablotskiy (Russia) is the founder of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation, and a tireless advocate for equality in sport and against homophobic repression in Russia, in the spirit of the Gay Games melding of sport, culture and LGBT expression.
 
The recommendations for finalists and winners were made to the FGG board of directors by the Tom Waddell Award Selection Committee, an international panel made up of representatives of former winners, honorary life members, the FGG General Assembly, and the Waddell family. Committee members investigated each nomination, held five teleconferences to discuss the nominees, and carried out a series of electronic votes to achieve consensus on their recommendation.
 
The presentation of the Tom Waddell Award to Elvina Yuvakaeva and Gene Dermody will be a highlight of the August 9 opening ceremony of Gay Games 9 in Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland. Gay Games 9 will continue in Cleveland, Akron and other northeast Ohio communities through August 16.

Additional photos of those honored are available upon request.

The Federation of Gay Games is the governing body of the Gay Games, the world's largest sport and culture event open to all. Gay Games 9 will take place 9-16 August 2014 in Cleveland+Akron, Ohio, and will feature a choral festival and the Leadership Seminar of FGG member organization GALA Choruses. Websites: gaygames.org and gg9cle.com

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For information about the Federation of Gay Games, visit www.gaygames.org.

The ninth edition of the quadrennial Gay Games will be held in Cleveland + Akron, OH 9-16 August , 2014. For information about Gay Games 9, Cleveland 2014, visit www.gg9cle.com.
 
About the Gay Games
Built upon the principles of Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best, since 1982 the Gay Games have empowered thousands of LGBT athletes and artists through sport, culture, and fellowship.
 
About The Federation of Gay Games
The international Federation of Gay Games is the governing body  the quadrennial Gay Games and promotes the event's founding principles of “Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best”™. The Gay Games was conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, and was first held in San Francisco in 1982 with 1,350 participants. Subsequent Gay Games were held in San Francisco (1986 - 3,500 participants), Vancouver (1990 - 7,300 participants), New York (1994 - 12,500 participants), Amsterdam (1998 - 13,000 participants), Sydney (2002 - 11,000 participants), Chicago (2006 - 11,700 participants), and Cologne, (2010 – 10,000 participants).

The 2014 Gay Games presented by the Cleveland Foundation will be held in Cleveland + Akron, OH, USA 9-16 August 2014. Visit
www.gg9cle.com for more information.
 
“Gay Games”, “Federation of Gay Games”, the interlocking circles device, and the phrase “Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best” are trademarks of the Federation of Gay Games, Inc. Trademarks are registered in the USA, Canada, Benelux, the UK, Germany, and Australia.
 
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