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GGVI bid comparisons: Sydney


  1. Opening greetings writen in English, German, Dutch, and French, though illegibly typeset.
  2. Sydney’s multiculturalism focus is on the Southern Hemisphere.
    • "Emphasis will be placed on the Asia/Pacific region, southern Africa and South America," though we can’t reasonably expect huge numbers from those areas. "Materials will be produced in a number of languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Bahasa [Malay], Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Thai. Translations will be sourced from the New South Wales Government Interpreter Service and native-language speakers working with Sydney 2002" [14]. As long as Sydney picks from established professional interpreters first, they’re pretty much bang-on in these plans (though no specific committee overseeing language is apparent).
    • Some doubt is sown later: "This will set the scene for the first Gay Games in the Southern Hemisphere, a Games where international inclusion is embraced" [19]. This amounts to an accusation of parochial nationalism and exclusion in previous Gaymes. Though Sydney may do a better job than previous host cities in attracting "international" participants, that remains to be seen, and cheap shots like this are unnecessary.
  3. The Sydneysiders really understand networking. "Our links with bodies as diverse as the NSW Council for the Disabled, the Australia Council [an arts funding body], International Theatre Institute, WomenSport International, the Sydney Paralympic Organizing Committee, National Association of Visual Arts, Carnivale, are already being formed" [14].
  4. "The Games’ ideals and prominent sporting participants will be used to contrast the elitism of the modern Olympics and to gain coverage in the run-up to Sydney’s Olympic Games in 2000" [15]. What does this mean, exactly? That Sydney 2002 will use the growing publicity for the Olympix to point out the elitism of the those Olympix? Maybe we now understand why the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games isn’t listed as a link.
  5. No "significant financial support" from the feds is foreseen. New South Wales may be in for some money. "Sydney 2002 board meetings are held at Sport House at the invitation of the NSW Dept. of Sport and Recreation," and various facilities and services are being shared, too [16].
  6. Yet again we have a parade of athletes in the opening ceremonies. "Each team will be led by dancers from that region to give a cultural flavour" [19]: What will the dancers be doing? Handstands? Rhythmic gymnastics? Athlete processions take too long. Find some other way. The bit about adding dancers is well-meaning but inconsequential. "The Federation flag will be escorted around the stadium by outstanding and well-known lesbian and gay sporting and cultural identities." Like...?
  7. Here is Sydney’s big innovation, and it’s so smart it might actually make me a believer in what is traditionally a guilt-ridden annex to the big show: I speak of the Cultural Festival, which "will be more visible than ever to sporting participants as the festival will come to them.... Spectators will be entertained in queues at sporting venues, train stations and stadiums" [21]. The only mental image I get is jugglers or buskers, but I’m sure they’ll wow us.
  8. Sydney actually understands that it is putting on an athletic spectacle first and foremost. "Sports events will have a competitive and a recreational element to cater for all abilities and, wherever possible, the integration of participants with disabilities. Events will be run according to international rules with drug-free participation. Competitions will be sanctioned where the sanctioning ensures recognition of records and a safer and fairer event." Um... how does sanctioning do anything but that? (11 sports are identified as likely to be sanctioned. This isn’t much of an improvement over New York.) Still, acknowledging these basic issues is reassuring.
  9. Netball will be played. It is erroneously described as "a version of basketball developed by an American, Dr. James Naismith, in 1971" [34]. Naismith was a Canadian living in Boston when he invented basketball. He didn’t stop being Canadian when he invented netball.
  10. There is an unseemly ongoing apologia to aboriginal Australians. It strikes me as just a hair too forced.
  11. Get this! Wrestling "is catching on fast and local wrestlers range from beginners to those who have competed in the 1996 Oceania Championships, as well as a former Australian national champion" [38]. Wait a minute. Does this mean that wrestling in Australia is overrun with poofters? Yet more evidence of the sophistication of that far-off land.
  12. The regs for mixed-gender volleyball are naïve: "There must be at least 50% women on the court at any one time" [37]. (Rather badly worded, don’t you think?) It may (may, I emphasize) be more sensible to give each player a point ranking and enforce a maximum number of points on-court at any given time. A strong 6’2" female player with five years’ experience may be far more proficient and valuable than some out-of-shape milquetoast male player. Stereotypes are pernicious no matter which way they cut.
  13. Transport: Still sketchy, but shows clear thinking. "Coaches will be separately chartered to transport participants [from various points] to each venue. Drivers will remain with the same route throughout the week to ensure familiarity with both the route and the participants" [50]. In other words, there won’t be a repeat of the Atlanta Olympix, in which drivers got so lost that athletes were marked as no-shows in events.
  14. Security: "Violence at sporting events is rare and there is no gang mentality amongst sports fans" [50]. Also mentions "well-rehearsed counterterrorist procedures" various bodies maintain.
  15. Admission will be charged to physique, swimming, figure-skating, and finals for tennis and basketball.

Disability access

More thoroughly handled than in other bids, with references integrated into relevant sections. "There will be a full powerlifting competition for blind and transplant athletes" [35], though amputee issues are bigger here. Sailing will be integrated. Accessibility, handled by the Access Advisory Committee, is a big-tent concept with Sydney, encompassing disability, AIDS, and aboriginal issues. "All Gay Games VI signage and competition result announcements will be accessible to hearing- and visually-impaired participants" [41]: Information access of this sort is tricky and will require large visual displays capable of duplicating everything announced auditorily. Describing what’s happening in a big venue with multiple matches in progress simultaneously will be difficult. (There is some acknowledgement of this limitation: "Waterpolo cannot be held at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre without auditory disturbance to other swimming events" [45].) One option is the use of talking signs (actually, Talking Signs®), an underused technology.


Standard blandishments.

Graphic presentation

Overarching. Centaur is the wrong font for any kind of Gay Games book. (I thought that lesson would have been learned back in ’94 when New York deployed this oddball coelecanth of a typeface in all its literature.) Logo is appalling.

Posted: Circa December 1997 ¶ Updated: 2009.03.01

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