Gay Games officials have announced that Cologne, Germany will play host for the 2010 Gay Games VIII. The city beat bids from Johannesberg and Paris.

The Gay Games has become a sought-after international event by cities worldwide. The 2006 Gay Games VII in Chicago is expected to bring more than 100,000 people and millions of dollars in tourist revenue to the city. “As one of Europe’s most welcoming and diverse cities, Cologne welcomes the international LGBT community, their friends and families, with open arms,” the Cologne bid committee said following the announcement.

The Federation of Gay Games is holding its annual meeting in Chicago this year in part to review plans for the 2006 Gay Games VII, FGG co-president Robert Mantaci announced. “Progress in Chicago is on track with more sponsors, thousands of athletes already registered, and, for the first time, television coverage of a Gay Games,” he said.

In addition, Sir Elton John has signed on as one of the Gay Games Ambassadors.

Outgames, an international LGBT sports and arts festival, kicks off in Montreal one week after the Gay Games close in July. Montreal had originally been selected to host the 2006 Games, but lost the event in a dispute with the Federation over budgetary control.

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