Published On: Sun, Aug 13th, 2017

Winnipeg Drops Out as Host City for Continental OutGames

PHOTO: Organizers of Winnipeg’s OutGames have chosen to not host an event under that banner and will instead, host their own sporting event for LGBTQ athletes. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

Organizers in Winnipeg have cancelled that city’s plans to host the 2020 North American Continental OutGames, citing their disappointment by how the situation with the Miami games unfolded earlier this year, the CBC is reporting.

The games, described by organizers as a sport-tourism event, would have had an economic impact of approximately $4.3 million CA for the province of Manitoba, with 850 participants expected to attend.

Jonathan Niemczak, chairman of the planning committee for Winnipeg’s OutGames bid, as well as Pride Winnipeg president, says that given what transpired in Miami “and how the athletes were treated, we feel that we are no longer in a position to deliver an exceptional experience for LGBTTQ* athletes under the OutGames banner.”

Miami was set to host the World OutGames in late-May/early-June of this year however most events were cancelled just 24 hours before the games were set to start. Misappropriation of funds by organizers was seen as the cause of the last minute cancellation of the Miami event and the City of Miami and other government agencies have since opened a fraud investigation.

Niemczak stated that Pride Winnipeg will now organize its own LGBTQ sport event to run in conjunction with Pride Winnipeg and Fierté Canada / Canada Pride 2020, a national festival, awarded to Winnipege in March of this year, which highlights the diversity of not only the country, but also the host city.

”We were very excited to be hosting the North American OutGames here in Winnipeg,” Niemczak continued. “We had tons of excitement from companies and organizations and all levels of government, so it [cancelling the games] was a hard decision.”

In addition to more than a dozen sports represented, OutGames would have also included a three-day conference on LGBTQ rights and a showcase on culture.

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