San Francisco was host to the first Gay Games in 1982 when it started under the leadership of Dr. Tom Waddell, a gay Olympian who saw the need for a sporting celebration of gay pride. Sadly, Waddell died of AIDS in 1987 not long after the second Gay Games in 1986, also held in San Francisco. His battle against HIV/AIDS is depicted in the award-winning documentary Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt.
Waddell wrote an autobiography titled Gay Olympian with fellow sports writer Dick Schaap. Waddell would be greatly pleased to see that Gay Games is in its 7th version and has become the world’s largest sporting and cultural event for LGBT athletes, artists, musicians, and others.
(The 1986 Games were the first Games participated in by GlobalGayz owner Richard Ammon, in swimming, hence the majority of swim photos in this gallery.)