The United States, considered the odds-on favorite to host the 2022 Gay Games, came thisclose but couldn’t bring home the win.
Unfortunately for the nation’s capital, it was Hong Kong that took the honors, making it the first Asian city to ever host the Games.
Guadalajara, Mexico, was also in the mix, but D.C. was considered the frontrunner.
According to Inside The Games, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who led the U.S. delegation, “afterwards acknowledged that negative international reaction to the Trump administration overall may have contributed to the decision to overlook the American candidate.”
Bowser noted, “As the world questions how the United States will position itself on the global stage, it is incumbent upon all of us to continue showing the world who we really are.”
While it is easy to blame a presidential administration on the failure to host, the decision to choose Hong Kong likely has far deeper roots. The U.S. has a full plate of multi-sport events already. It is bidding on the 2026 FIFA World Cup. It has been awarded the 2028 Summer Olympics. It is weighing the option to put in a bid on the 2026 Winter Olympics. It will host the World Games in 2021, and the World Beach Games in 2019. (An unfortunate development in the World Beach Games came recently - the events have been downsized, and although organizers aren't saying exactly why, pundits are citing a lack of funding, and a lack of support, as the culprits.)
All large events call for significant resources, and it is only natural for Gay Games organizers to want to make sure their event receives the attention it deserves, as well as the funding it deserves. As the first Asian city to host the Gay Games, it is likely that Hong Kong will direct all available resources and media attention to the event, in an attempt to prove they should host that event - and others of a similar multi-sport nature - again.
Held every four years, the Gay Games is the world's largest sporting and cultural event specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes. They were first held in San Francisco in 1982. Subsequent editions of the Games have been held in San Francisco in 1986, Vancouver in 1990, New York in 1994, Amsterdam in 1998, Sydney in 2002, Chicago in 2006, Cologne in 2010 and Cleveland and Akron in 2014. In 2014, the Games drew 10,000 athletes from 60 countries to compete in 37 sports. (The fact that the U.S. has already hosted so many times may also have contributed to the decision to move the event to a new country entirely; organizers might simply have wanted a change.)
The 2018 Games will take place in Paris, and will serve as a good showcase for the city as it readies itself to host the biggest multi-sport event of all, the 2024 Olympics.
Originally, 17 cities (apart from D.C., Hong Kong and Guadalajara) expressed their interest in hosting the 2022 event, including Cape Town in South Africa, Tel Aviv in Israel and 12 (yes, twelve) U.S. cities: Anaheim, Atlanta, Des Moines, Los Angeles, Madison, Minneapolis, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City and San Francisco.