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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
August 11, 2006

Ohio Splash comes home from Outgames with dozens of medals

Montr�al--The inaugural World Outgames, organized as an alternative to the Gay Games, ended on August 5 with members of Ohio Splash having to declare more medals than members coming back through customs.

Ohio Splash sent 20 members north for the event, and over the six days of competition nabbed 30 medals--counting four-person relays as a single medal. Otherwise, the team actually came home with 39 medals.

Paul Hinders, Julio Aponte, Liv Gjestvang, Julie Applegate, Sophie Dryer, Elliot Neufeld, Heidi Madsen, Deb Baird, Aaron Zechman and Kerryn Bell all medaled individually, and David Spawn and Rick Edwards comprised the male half of silver medal-winning Ohio Splash 100 meter mixed freestyle relay.

Under the Team Columbus banner, Racquel Bonner scored a silver medal in Physique, and Applegate and Gjestvang both took silvers in their age groups in Triathlon.

�The most thrilling this for me about the Outgames was that the event created a space for my activist and athlete identities to merge,� Applegate said. �The event kicked off with the largest ever International Conference on LGBT Human Rights and was followed by a fabulously well-organized week of sport and cultural festivities with participants from all corners of the world.�

�I have always known that LGBT sport has the ability to create social change, but to see it happening in action on such a global scale was truly inspirational,� she continued. �I�m counting the days until Copenhagen 2009!�

Copenhagen has been selected as the host city for the next Outgames that year.

The Outgames closed with a huge celebration featuring three popular singers from Montr�al along with Liza Minelli, DJ Tracy Young and drag performers from both Montr�al and Copenhagen.

Over 1,500 people participated in the rights conference opening the Outgames, and the sporting competitions brought 10,248 athletes from across the globe. Some also participated in the Gay Games in Chicago two weeks ago, others used their exclusive attendance in Montr�al as a form of protest against the United States� policies in the Middle East.

The Declaration of Montr�al, a manifesto calling for support of LGBT civil rights and approved unanimously by the conference, will be presented to political leaders worldwide, although Montr�al�s was the first government to officially sign onto it on August 1.

The Outgames also saw a world record broken in the men�s 300 meter backstroke for the 40-44 year old age division. San Franciscan Daniel Veatch came in at 2:14.83, edging out William Speicht�s 1999 record of 2:15.49.

Montr�al was originally selected as the host city for the 2006 Gay Games, but disagreements between the planning committee and the Federation of Gay Games led to a split, and Chicago emerged as the victor in the search for a new city. Montr�al�s planning committee and a new international sporting association went ahead with plans for an event, time to not conflict with the Gay Games, which were also fairly successful.

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