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  • Writer's pictureSkylight Foundation

Skylight’s Olga Starr goes all out for Gay Games 9

As the torch passes to Paris, the Cleveland Gay Games have been hailed a huge success and despite initial concerns about hosting the games in a smaller, more conservative location than in previous years, Cleveland and Akron have been lauded for their warm welcome and hosting a “magic week”. The Skylight Foundation also played its part and went all out to welcome visitors to Cleveland and make it was has been described as an event of a lifetime.

As life in Cleveland returns to normal, Skylight’s Olga Starr and Mark Owens, who both participated in the games, reflect on the week and what the Games meant to them.

Olga competed in the swimming and picked up a gold and silver medal in the women’s 200m freestyle relay and the women’s 200m relay. She also beat her personal best in the 100m freestyle by 9 seconds!

Olga said “It's more than your everyday life. More than your ambitions, bank accounts and petty traffic frustration. It's greater than one person, one team, one country or one competition. It's a universe where a pain of one is felt by thousands, where a lost soul finds unconditional support; a world where you become timeless and ageless. You're the stiff achy arm of a 70-year-old struggling to make that one backstroke that'll bring the entire crowd on their feet screaming. You're in the beautiful shoulders of a young man who's killing it, just killing that distance with his butterfly strokes. You're thinking "GO, GO, GO!" so hard that you know that your teammate on the other side of the pool can hear you, and that will give him the strength to catch up. I confess, I was going to post a picture of me with a couple of medals from the Games. And then I felt ashamed because I realized it was really not about me or the medals. It's about us. It's about how amazing we, humans, can be.”

Check out some great photos from the week below!

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