Posted by: Nick Ward | 8 August, 2010

Hello, it’s Germany calling… Tales from the Cologne Gay Games

So, The Cologne Gay Games are over.

Whatever I say will sound cliched, but what the hell, I’m going to say them anyway.

The truth is that I’ve competed and achieved some personal best performances in the pool, I’ve made new friends and strengthened existing friendships, and for a wonderful week I have lived in a city very different to my own (whether I consider that to be Sydney or Melbourne). I’m sure most other games participants feel the same way. How lucky I am to be able to participate in these things.

As I fly through the French countryside at over 200 kms per hour on that most wonderful machine, the TGV, Germany now feels a million miles away. It’s sad that the games are over, but wonderful that I have been enriched by the experience. That’s not to say this is the first Games which has had that effect on me, New York, Amsterdam, Sydney & Montreal did too, but it’s interesting to look back on what has made the Cologne Games such a great experience anyway.

I am richer in having achieved my first Gay Games medal (3 in fact, all silver, but a thrill nonetheless). I won medals in Montreal, my last Games, but technically that was an Outgames… it’s nice to also take something home from a Gay Games.

I am also richer for having achieved best ever results in waterpolo with my Melbourne Surge team, taking home one of those silvers in a hard fought match against Utah. It was a real T.E.A.M. experience, probably the first time I've been involved in such a full-on team sport experience.

I’m richer for achieving two more of those medals in relay teams with my beloved Glamourhead Sharks. I love relays, it’s so great to share success with my team-mates, and brilliant to set goals for future meets with the team. Reckon our 4x 200m relay team has a shot at a world record at the Asia Pacific Outgames in Wellington in March.

And I’m pretty damned satisfied to have sliced most of my personal best times in my swimming events, including the 100m butterfly, 400m IM, 800m freestyle and some 45 seconds off my 1500m freestyle time. To be swimming times faster than I was swimming at the Sydney games in 2002 is a real thrill, I’ve got to say, and has me setting my sights on breaking through some serious time barriers I’ve never broken through before. At these games I came closer than I ever have before to nailing an individual medal in my pain-in-the-bum super competitive age group, coming in 4th in two events, just missing a medal by a whisker. Next time with some hard work I should break through on this front, I reckon.

All that being said, the most brilliant thing I’ve got out of these games has been a pile of new friends who I will without doubt maintain contact with, and probably compete with at future games. Awesome. Went to a house party hosted by my Kolner friends where I met a handful of new and interesting people, including our favorite diver Matthew Mitcham, which was a really fun night. And, as always, my Australian teammates are just that much closer for us having shared the games together.

Full marks to Cologne. The city not only put on a great games, it showed off its character to the fullest. For those who haven’t visited, Cologne is Germany’s fourth largest city, yet has wonderful little neighborhoods, and a fantastic gay & lesbian community. Schaafenstrasse, near Rudolfplatz, was one of the best street parties I’ve seen, and was absolutely pumping every night of the games. Neumarkt was filled with stalls and stages. By day, the old town, cathedral area, and shopping strips were full of locals & visitors. What a great city.

So, over the next four years there will be games in Wellington, Antwerp and Cleveland. There will be IGLA (GLBT aquatics) championships in Hawaii & Iceland. Bring them on, I can’t wait.


  1. In truth this was an incredible advanced article nonetheless as with every excellent authors there are several items that may be labored upon. Nevertheless never your much less it absolutely was intriguing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: