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Game Games athletes arrive in Cleveland to a light show and more
Some 10,000 are expected to compete in everything from rodeo to darts over the next week

AHA lights over Cleveland
Courtesy of GAY GAMES 9
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Athletes began arriving en-mass in Northeast Ohio today for the world Gay Games, which officially get underway Saturday. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that some say the games have already accomplished one of the games’ goals: Changing attitudes.

LISTEN: Gay Games athletes arrive

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In all, 10,000 people are expected for the week-long games and are being greeted with a festival of lights, kick off parties and live theater performances. 

When the Gay Games Federation first selected Cleveland in 2009, organizers said they wanted to select a city that many didn’t perceive as being gay friendly. 

Michelle Zimmerman is a power lifter from San Francisco, and called the reception so far “amazing.” 

“It’s all lights and people are friendly, so it’s nice. I wasn’t expecting it to ever to be in Ohio so it’s changing my attitude towards Ohio, so yeah, that’s good.” 

The games include some traditional sports like figure skating and rowing -- and some-not-so-traditional sports – like darts and a camped up, costumed, sort-of synchronized swimming event called the Pink Flamingo.

Matt Cordish of Cleveland says the variety of events is an important element of the games.

LISTEN: Cordish on types of Gay Games
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“We wanted to have a diverse round of activities or sports that people would be able compete in.  So we brought in pretty much everything you could think of. And especially, with a lot of these sports, they are prominent with the LGBT community in their athletics.”

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