By Mike Mrkic
Australia’s GLBT athletes shone at Gay Games VIII in Cologne, netting more than 200 medals in disciplines as diverse as wrestling and dance.
The weeklong event was hailed as the biggest sports and cultural festival in the world, attracting almost 10,000 participants from more than 70 countries. Among those were 365 Australian athletes who brought back an impressive swag of medals – 90 gold, 92 silver and 53 bronze.
Australia’s Cologne Gay Games representative Phillip Lischke said our athletes were warmly embraced by the 800,000 or so spectators who attended events, and exceeded expectations on the medal tally.
Some of our strongest performers include Steven Berveling, a three-time winner in cycling events, and John Nicholls, who also bagged a hat trick of gold medals in the diving.
As usual, most of our medals came from the pool and athletics track. Corey Buckman and John Marriot both scored five gold medals in swimming, as did Paul Skipper and Wayne Morgan in track and field events. Brendan Dwyer won the most gold, taking home six medals in track and field events.
The profile of the Australian team was further buoyed by the presence of Olympian Matthew Mitcham, who gave the athletes’ oath on behalf of all participants at the opening ceremony.
They also received support from Peter Tesch, the Australian ambassador to Germany, who attended the team reception and met athletes during the event.
info: Galleries of pictures from the games appear in the SCENE section on our website. Download the medal winners from the links below.