Post submitted by Dane Grams, HRC Director Direct Response & Monthly Giving

Gay Games 9 is off to an epic start in the heartland of America, and HRC has had an unprecedented presence.  Nearly 8,000 athletes from over 65 countries have converged on Cleveland + Akron to participate in nearly 40 sporting events from cycling and rowing, to ice hockey and bodybuilding.

The official Opening Ceremonies kicked off last evening with the parade of nations and states at Quicken Loan Arena - home of Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Blue and gold equality flags could be seen throughout the march.  President Obama delivered a surprise video address and long-time HRC friend Senator Sherrod Brown and his wife Connie Schultz gave the opening remarks.  It was a historic moment for the Games.  U.S. Olympic champion Greg Louganis inspired the athletes with his words, and former N*Sync band member Lance Bass entertained the crowd of nearly 20,000 spectators.

This morning, HRC and our army of local volunteers hosted the official opening brunch in partnership with Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar. Several hundred members dined on fabulous Latin foods from around and celebrated the successful start of the Games.

HRC will be present throughout the week talking to attendees from around the world about our work domestically and abroad. In addition, HRC and the Athletes for Equality program are the presenting sponsors of the marathon & half-marathon in Akron on Saturday, August 16.  Over400 athletes will be running and learn about the work of the HRC Foundation along the way, with informational signs posted at each mile marker about the different ways HRC changes lives at home, at work and in the community.  For more information on HRC’s Athletes for Equality program and how to participate, please visit

The credo of the Gay Games is "participation, inclusion and personal best." And HRC is proud to be a platinum sponsor.

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