Via the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Safe to say, not many sporting events would include a trio of drag singers lip-syncing “Proud Mary” as the opening number. Or an athlete from Mexico decked out in a sombrero — and knee-high, red, platform boots and skimpy silver shorts. Or the delegation from the Russian Federation earning substantial cheers and a standing ovation from spectators and participants alike at The Q. Gay Games 9 kicked off Saturday evening with a uniquely expressive Opening Ceremonies featuring performers such as Lance Bass and the Pointer Sisters, remarks from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and his wife, former Plain Dealer columnist and Pulitzer winner Connie Schultz, and even a surprise video message from President Barack Obama. It marked the start of a week-long celebration of the LGBT community through sport and entertainment. About 9,000 participants and 20,000 spectators, in all, are expected to make an economic impact on the Cleveland-Akron region of about $40 million. Before the ceremonies began, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson shared exactly what he told the Gay Games selection committee before event was awarded to Cleveland in 2009. “If you come to Cleveland, you will be the centerpiece, and we will do all we can to make these the most successful games yet,” Jackson said.