Olympisch duikkampioen Matthew Mitcham (23) en Olympisch snelschaatser Blake Skjellerup (26) worden ambassadeur van de Gay Games 2014 in het Amerikaanse Cleveland, Ohio. Andere ambassadeurs voor de Gay Games zijn basketballer John Amaechi, atleet David Kopat, schoonspringer Greg Louganis.
Australiër Mitcham won in 2008 goud bij het sierduiken vanaf 10 tijdens de Spelen in Beijing. Vorig jaar was hij ook aanwezig op de Gay Games in Keulen waar hij tijdens de openingsceremonie de eed van de atleten voorlas. Hij zet zich ook in voor de holebibeweging. Hij is van de favorieten voor Londen.
Blake Skjellerup uit Nieuw-Zeeland kwam na de Olympische Spelen van Vancouver uit de kast. Op die spelen nam hij deel aan de korte afstanden schaatsen. In Nieuw-Zeeland nam hij deel aan verschillende acties om het pesten van homoseksuelen tegen te gaan. Dankzij de Pink Shirt schrijfcampagne mocht hij op visite gaan bij de Nieuw-Zeelandse premier. Regelmatig bezoekt hij ook scholen om over homoseksualiteit te gaan spreken.
Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham and Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup join group of leading athletes, artists and activists to support the LGBT sport movement
The international Federation of Gay Games is pleased to announce that Matthew Mitcham and Blake Skjellerup will be joining athletes such as David Kopay, John Amaechi, and Greg Louganis as Gay Games Ambassadors.
The role of Gay Games Ambassadors is to support the Gay Games, the largest international sporting event open to all, and the Federation’s work to develop the lesbian, gay, bi and trans sports movement, to combat homophobia in and by sport, and to promote the FGG’s message of Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best ™.
Matthew Mitcham and Blake Skjellerup join Australians Michelle Ferris, an Olympic cyclist, and Ji Wallace, an Olympic trampoline competitor as Gay Games Ambassadors from the Asia-Pacific region.
Australian Matthew Mitcham shot to fame by winning a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, shortly after coming out. Last year he joined the 10,000 athletes and artists participating in Gay Games VIII, where he read the athletes’ oath at opening ceremony in Cologne’s RheinEnergie Stadium. Matthew also participated in a number of events in Cologne, in particular the International Rainbow Memorial Run for victims of AIDS and other illnesses, and met participants at various venues, including the Gay Games Scholarship reception.
Christchurch, New Zealand’s Blake Skjellerup came out shortly after the Vancouver Olympics, where he had competed in short track speed skating. Blake has spent his off-season in New Zealand working on anti-bullying efforts, including the Pink Shirt letter-writing campaign, which led to a meeting on the issue with the country’s prime minister. He then went on a speaking tour of schools throughout the country.
Federation co-president Kurt Dahl (Chicago) expressed the pleasure of the FGG at the support of Matthew and Blake: “We’re are very grateful that both of these young men have decided to commit to the work of Gay Games Ambassadors. We recognize that for athletes at the peak of their competitive career, commitments must be made with care. Each has taken their time to join us, and know that this means that they are fully invested in supporting the next Gay Games, which will be held in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio in 2014.”
Female co-president Emy Ritt (Paris) added: “Matthew and Michelle Ferris both attended the eighth edition of the Gay Games last year in Cologne, Germany, where they saw first hand the life-changing power of this event which brings athletes from around the world together in a celebration of sport and culture in a safe and welcoming environment. And beyond this event, all of our Ambassadors understand our mission to promote the fundamental human right to practice sport and culture free from violence and discrimination.”