Thirty years ago Dr. Tom Waddell, himself a former Olympic athlete, founded the Gay Olympic Games in San Francisco in 1982 as an international sporting and cultural event for the LGBT community.
The organization was sued by the United States Olympic Committee for unauthorized use of the word “Olympic” three weeks before the opening events at Kezar Stadium. Congress granted the USOC exclusive rights to the name and symbols related to the Olympics in the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. Even though a long list of other unauthorized uses of the word existed, the USOC took exception to the use of the word in association with an event for the gay community. The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the USOC and against the Gay Games in 1987.
The Gay Games have been held in San Francisco (1982 and 1986), Vancouver (1990), New York (1994), Amsterdam (1998), Sydney (2002), Chicago (2006), and Cologne (2010), and are scheduled to be held in Cleveland (2014).
Of the 11,000 athletes converging on the 2012 Olympics in London from around the world, only 22 are openly gay, including 19 lesbians and three gay men.