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The History of Team Chicago Athletics, Inc.

Members and founders of Team Chicago have been involved with the international LGBT Sports and Cultural movement since the First Gay Games in 1982 - San Francisco and we've had members participate in sports and cultural activities from the Chicagoland area in every Gay Games after that.

Since the inception of the Gay Games and Team Chicago, many other multi-sport organizations have been created over the decades including: Chicago Metropolitan Sports Alliance (CMSA), Windy City Athletics Association (WCAA - no longer exist), Women's Sports Assocation and Athletic Alliance of Chicago, Windy City Performing Arts (Aria and Windy City Gay Chorus), Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, Lakeside Pride Band who are all part of the LGBT Sports and Cultural Family in Chicagoland and have members who are part of the official Chicago Area delegate to each Gay Games through Team Chicago.

While some of the oganizations focus on the individual Sport or cultural event sponsoring regular leagues or rehearsals. Team Chicago has a larger mission to educate and encourage each person to participate at their "Personal Best" at all times. Team Chicago is also instrumental in raising funds and offering scholarships to member participants.

Joining the FGG

Team Chicago became a member of the Federation of Gay Games in 2002 following several years of being an observer. Team Chicago delegates participated actively on the FGG’s Sports and Outreach Committees. See the FGG’s website at www.gaygames.com. We sponsored the 2004 meeting of the Federation’s Strategic Planning Committee in July of 2004. Since 2002, Team Chicago has consistently have delegate serve as part of the General Assembly for The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) the licensing body for the quadriennial Gay Games. Many of our member and board member past and present continue to serve on key leadership positions with the FGG.

Gay Games IV - (1982) San Francisco, CA USA

Members participated in the Games.

Gay Games IV - (1986) San Francisco, CA USA

Members participated in the Games.

Gay Games IV - (1990) Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Members participated in the Games.

Gay Games IV - (1992) New York, New York, USA

In 1992 Team Chicago formerly came together again to support Chicago residents who were planning to participate in Gay Games IV in New York City in 1994. Team Chicago sponsored a reception for cross-country gay bicyclists and for the first time provided uniforms to all Gay Games participants.

Gay Games V - (1998) Amsterdam

The Games were held in Amsterdam in 1998 – a bit further to travel. Team Chicago offered a wider range of activities to motivate athletes and cultural participants from the area to participate. Events leading up to Gay Games V included a fund-raising calendar, a float in the Chicago Pride Parade, and a send-off cruise for Team Chicago participants. Chicagoans were greeted in Amsterdam with a welcoming party at Club Boom Chicago that kicked off a memorable week.

Gay Games VI - (2002) Sydney, Australia

Although Gay Games VI were even further away, under new skies in Sydney, Australia. More than 120 Team Chicago members made the long plane trip and either competed in the Games or had a great time watching. Team Chicago awarded four sponsorships to help worthy Chicagoans attend the 2002 Games – two travel packages and two cash grants – worth more than $5,000. Chicagoans brought home more than 60 medals.

Gay Games VII - (2006) Chicago, Illinois, USA

Team Chicago members played an active role in supporting the first bid by Chicago 2006 and the second (successful) bid by Chicago Games Inc. to host Gay Games VII. We partnered with Chicago Games Inc. to sponsor the Federation’s annual meeting in Chicago in November of 2005. More than 1,200 Team Chicago members, 500 people in Team Chicago tee shirts, and 500 others from the Chicagoland area marched triumphantly into Soldier Field for the Opening Ceremony of Gay Games VII on July 15, 2006. We welcomed the world to Chicago, won hundreds of medals, and had a great time!

Gay Games VIII - (2010) Cologne, Germany

Over 100 members were part of the official delegation to Gay Games VIII 2010 - Cologne, Germany (a smaller delegation due to changes in the world economy and high cost of international travel). A new logo and v-neck pull over jogging suits were part of the official uniforms for the delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies. Team Chicago once again offered members discounted travel and accommodations packages to help defry the cost of international travel. Chicago led one of the largest delegations from North America and members honored us with the many medals that they brought back from Cologne, Germany.

Gay Games IX - (2014) Cleveland/Akron, Ohio USA

As Gay Games IX approaches in 2014 and the OutGames in 2013, more and more things will be happening in Chicago's sports and cultural communities. Athletes' training schedules will take them to a new level. You can get in on this by providing Team Chicago with profile information when you join our mailing list.

Team Chicago is your LGBT Doorway in the Midwest

Team Chicago has sponsored the Midwest GLBT Sports and Cultural Festival in prior years. Building on a tradition of having a multi-event festival, started by Peg Grey, the event has grown dramatically. The first festivals were held in 1989 and 1990 in preparation for the 1990 Gay Games. Those events had 10 events and attendance from throughout the Midwest. Recent Midwest GLBT Sports and Cultural Festivals have grown from 1,200 participants in 2000 to more than 2,400 participants in 2005, taking part in 14 events. Competitions were sponsored by the Windy City Athletic Association, Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association, and Women's Sports Association.

If you share information about your sport, the events you plan to participate in during Gay Games IX, and your training needs or challenges, we'll try to connect you with other Team Chicago members and resources to help take your game to where you want it to be. On this webpage you will be able to find a training partner or coach, obtain training tips, and enroll in our peer support program. Cultural participants will network on the creation of art works, events, and performances.

Team Chicago is a 501(c)(3) organization whose goal is to encourage and promote the participation of Chicago area residents in the Gay Games®. Donations to Team Chicago are tax deductible.

Key Accomplishments

Team Chicago first encountered athletes from The Rainbow Project (TRP), a lesbian sports organization of 150 members from Windhoek, Namibia, at the 2001 Annual Meeting of the Federation of Gay Games. Its members were not able to play soccer safely in Windhoek because of homophobia. As Team Chicago's delegates to the 2001 FGG annual meeting came in contact with some of the female African workshop participants, a vision and a plan of action began to take form. Since soccer is so popular in villages and big cities alike, why not hold a soccer tournament so lesbians in Africa had a way to meet, compete, and also develop organizational skills.

The tournament would be held in the relative safety of the Johannesburg/Soweto area and would host local teams, a team from Namibia, and be open to any other country or locale that could field a team. Team Chicago adopted the "Rainbow Warrior" team from Namibia as its "sister team." Team Chicago raised funds to allow 16 TRP members to travel by bus from Windhoek to Johannesburg (a 24 hour trip) in February of 2002. Team Chicago had soccer jerseys made so that the three soccer teams (2 from Soweto and 1 from Windhoek, Namibia) could have them to play in a soccer tournament. Team Chicago also paid for meals and a lodging fee at a hostel for the TRP members during their stay in Soweto.

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