In the run-up to the Gay Games, I looked through the program, but I couldn’t find gymnastics. The body-hugging outfits, gorgeous bodies, the eye-popping spread eagles and colorful waving ribbons — this discipline had everything you’d expect to be included in the Gay Games lineup. But that was before I attended the actual Games and saw the Gay Games cheerleaders.
When I attended the cheerleading competition at Charlety Stadium, there was a huge crowd and the atmosphere was crazy. We loved the shoes of one of the cheerleaders: size 12 stiletto heels in rainbow color.
The vast majority of the teams participating come from the United States. We simply had to watch the cheer-battle between CheerSF (San Francisco) and CheerLA (Los Angeles), especially since the members of the New York team were keeping their ever-watchful eyes on both. Everything was in place to stir the curiosity of us Europeans, quite inexperienced in this sport for once.
Fiona, a Swede, had come for some sporting events taking place in a nearby stadium, so she decided to come see cheerleading to get an idea of what it was all about.
“Oh my god!” she said. “It really is a sport!” One of the participants had just made a high jump of three meters and then landed on the shoulders of two muscle lords in sequined skirts.
The outfits are a huge part of the competition. The team that arrived in RuPaul’s Drag Race t-shirts created the biggest sensation. Fiona was particularly amazed by Trixie Mattel‘s angel jump into the heavens and Valentina’s flying through the air — both moves flirted with perfection, she said.
The Los Angeles Lakers NBA team also generated some buzz by working with the boys from their local cheerleading team there for six months. LGBTQ teams have been increasing diversity and pulling communities together for decades, and cheerleading is just the beginning of the many queer sports that do this.
Elsewhere in the Gay Games, one competitor left made a huge mark: An 80-year-old American athlete named Ed. He won the gold medal in his category in the 1500 meter race — major respect.
Here are some images of the Gay Games cheerleaders:
What do you think of the Gay Games cheerleaders?
Images by Mathias Casado-Castro