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Maureen Kane Competes in Gay Games

by Sonya Jongsma Knauss

Maureen Kane has “season lag,” and a tan. And she recently had an 8-day week — two Tuesdays. Obviously she hasn’t been hanging around Riverwest lately. Kane, a neighborhood resident and self-employed owner of MMK Design, recently returned from Australia, where she participated in her fourth Gay Games. The Gay Games are something like the Olympic games, but much friendlier: there’s no qualifying requirements, there’s an artistic portion, and you don’t even have to be gay to play. Kane finished less than half a minute shy of the bronze medal in the 10-kilometer race, completing the course in 52 minutes. “Now that I got so close,” she says, “I’m going to have to go back.” She’s already planning to go to Montreal in 2006, where she’ll be in a new age bracket. And she’ll start her training much earlier. She values the cultural aspect of the experience tremendously. On opening night, all 11,000 athletes and about 11,000 fans gathered in the Olympic Stadium in Sydney, Australia. “The athletes from India and Pakistan marched together,” she says. She also met representatives from Iraq and Antarctica. She had a week of rest before her race, so she was able to watch other events and spend time with her cousin and his family, who live in Australia. “They had dances and plays and all kinds of social events, but I was a slouch! I mostly hung out with my cousins and got to spend time with their kids.” The Gay Games were started in the 1980s in San Francisco, because some gay athletes “found it difficult to be gay and a jock at the same time,” Kane says. It was relatively informal, and one of the goals of organizers was to make sure all could participate. Anyone can participate, and all participants receive medals. The traditional gold, silver, and bronze medals for first, second, and third, are awarded as well. In the past Kane has participated in the softball tournament, rock climbing, and a poster-making competition. “This year, they had this sketch contest, and I thought of participating, but the pressure to draw something and then compete just didn’t make sense to me.” But she’s going to stick with the running. And she’s already looking forward to next time. “I can look back very confidently saying that I didn’t dog it. I ran as fast as I could. But next time I think I’ll train for two years, instead of just six months.” Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 11 – December 2002
by Sonya Jongsma Knauss