Delays in securing swimming venues for the 2017 World OutGames in Miami have caused the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Association (IGLA) board to write its members, assuring them that the board is working to resolve the situation to “ensure the integrity of the IGLA Championships for IGLA participants and member teams. We encourage athletes who intend to register for Outgames 2017 to please postpone doing so until questions around the status of the championships are fully resolved.”
The Ransom Everglades School Aquatics Center and the University of Miami had been listed as the host locations by OutGames organizers prior to August. However, the Washington Blade reported on August 19 that Florida International University Stadium would host the finals, and not long after that, any reference to swimming venues was removed from the World OutGames website.
But organizers have reported that they are confident they can hold the swimming, water polo and synchronized swimming events that are part of IGLA’s annual Championships. According to IGLA’s letter, OutGames organizers have a signed contract for one venue and made a substantial deposit on it; they have a similar contract “in the works for a second aquatics facility.”
With only eight months to go before the festivities begin on May 26, a number of athletes admit being nervous based on past problems with the sports portion of the OutGames’ three-prong approach that also includes a cultural portion and a human rights conference event. Speaking on behalf of the Miami OutGames organizers, Robert Wagenseil of Goodman Public Relations said he doesn’t know registration numbers for the Miami event yet but organizers are still hoping to have 8,000-to-10,000 sports participants and 1,000-to-2,000 in each of the cultural and human rights portions.
But money may be a problem. Asking for a combined total of $300,000 on its indiegogo and generosity fundraising pages, at the time of this writing the OutGames has only raised a combined total of just under $13,000. Only time will tell the outcome to this.
By Brian Patrick