WASHINGTON — Washington D.C.’s bid to host the 2022 Gay Games has enlisted the help of political and athletic heavyweights in order to bring the 35-sport event to the nation’s capital.
The D.C. bid includes honorary chairs Paul Tagliabue, former NFL Commissioner, and Billie Jean King, a tennis legend and outspoken advocate for women’s equality and the LBGTQ community. On the political spectrum, it includes former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and the pledged support of Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
The planning committee has also made the proposed D.C. United Stadium at Buzzard Point a focal point of the bid: this would be the site of the Gay Games Opening Ceremony. The stadium is scheduled to be ready for use by the team in 2018.
The D.C. Armory and Walter Washington Convention Center are also expected to be major hubs in the proposal, along with the university facilities at the University of Maryland, George Washington University and Gallaudet University.
The Gay Games have been held every four years dating back to 1982, and are open to all athletes regardless of sexual orientation, which is still a source of persecution and worse in some parts of the world. There are no qualifiers, which means that the event regularly outdraws the Olympic games in terms of athletes (12,000 to 15,000) and between 80,000 and 100,000 spectators. to the host city, with an economic impact of more than $100 million, according to Gay Games Washington, D.C. 2022.
According to the host committee, there is an anticipated economic impact of $100 million, and will not require the type of construction associated with Olympiads. If D.C. is selected, Bowser has pledged $2 million to the renovation and preparation efforts.
D.C. is one of nine remaining cities being considered for the game, selected from an unprecedented 17 bids announced in April. Seven of the remaining bid cities are American, with only Hong Kong and Guadalajara being considered internationally.
The city previously lost the 2014 bid to host the games to Cleveland.