Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 4:48 PM
Cleveland has topped rivals in Boston and Washington DC to host the 2014 Gay Games. Boosters claim the international sporting competition will bring tens of thousands of spectators to Northeast Ohio. ideastream®'s David C. Barnett reports
A contingent of Northeast Ohioans traveled to Cologne, Germany to make the final pitch to the Federation of Gay Games, this past weekend. Valerie McCall, who heads Government Affairs for the City of Cleveland acknowledges that Cleveland was the underdog in this showdown, but says the local team had it’s “A” game on.
VALERIE McCALL: We had the weight of everybody --- the governor was involved, every council member, the General Assembly, our senators, our congress people, and pretty much said, “nothing beats a failure like a try. And if we don’t try, we’ll never know.”
One of the judges was Darl Schaaff, who headed the site selection committee that visited the three finalist cities, this summer.
DARL SCHAAFF: I came there without any pre-conceived notion, and I said, “You know, Boston’s a bidder and Washington’s a bidder, and those are big cities that I’ve been to, and Cleveland’s going to really have to live up to some big shoes.” And, I was blown away. I thought it was the most amazing place. I loved it.
Dan Williams of Positively Cleveland --- the local convention and visitor’s bureau --- says the Gay Games dwarfs any other sporting event the city has hosted. Williams estimates attendance will be in excess of 100,000 people.
DAN WILLIAMS: You know, you’re going to have people here, they’re going to be in our hotels, our restaurants, and this is going to extend down to Akron, go out to all the suburbs. The people are going to be in our museums --- they’re going to be everywhere
The Cleveland Synergy Foundation, which organized the city’s bid, will now focus on ironing out the dozens of details involved in coordinating sporting venues from Cleveland to Akron for 34 events that will take place over a two week period in the summer of 2014.
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