By her own admission, Sydneysider Beth Nyman’s entry in the Montr? Outgames Dancesport competition is slightly out of the ordinary.

Unlike most of the competitors, the Sydney Gay Games bronze medallist’s dancing partner, Noela Ferch, is heterosexual.

She’s actually not gay herself, she’s married, Nyman told Sydney Star Observer, adding the pairing was a wonderful way to increase mainstream tolerance for gays and lesbians.

Nyman and Ferch, pictured, met through Randwick school Logan Dance Sydney and have been training for the Outgames since January last year.

They will compete in all three Dancesport divisions in Montr? alongside other Australian couples including Byron Bay duo Andi Davey and Jesse Blackadder, profiled in the Star in May.

I took off the month of July just to dance and get my act together, Nyman said.

I’ve been practising really hard on my own and with Noela, [but] up until the weekend just past I didn’t know that we were going to be ready.

This week I’m feeling really ready and excited.

The Dancesport competition -“ one of 35 official Outgames sports -“ opens next Monday, and Nyman and Ferch are hopeful of their chances.

The reason we’re going to Canada rather than [the Gay Games in] Chicago is because that’s where the dance competition is going, Nyman said.

The Europeans, who are the big competition for us, the Germans particularly, they’re going to Canada.

Our ultimate hope is to bring back a medal, Nyman said.

The Outgames opening ceremony is on this Saturday. The event closes on 5 August.

Meantime, Sydney figure skater Matthew Mason took out gold and bronze medals the Chicago Gay Games, which ended with a lavish closing ceremony last Saturday.

The ceremony saw Chicago mayor Richard Daley lead a Gay Games flag procession and pop legend Cyndi Lauper perform for an estimated crowd of 25,000, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Stand proud, Lauper told the crowd. Stand together.

Anti-gay protesters outside the venue appeared to have little impact on the celebratory mood.

Team Sydney spokesperson and Gay Games participant G.J. Lee called the Games and their finale fabulous.

A spectacular closing ceremony was the finale to Gay Games VII, Lee told the Star by email from Chicago.

It may have marked the end of competition but thousands of smiling faces showed you didn’t have to be wearing a medal to be a winner.

The friendships formed and memories of the Games will live on.

The eighth Gay Games will be held in Cologne, Germany, in 2010.

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