Residents, athletes, reflect on Gay Games impression on Clevelan - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Residents, athletes, reflect on Gay Games impression on Cleveland

The Rainbow light display before the games. (WOIO) The Rainbow light display before the games. (WOIO)
Gay Games logo. (gg9.com) Gay Games logo. (gg9.com)
The Gay Games have been a boost in local economy. (WOIO) The Gay Games have been a boost in local economy. (WOIO)

There are gay pride flags outside scores of businesses around town. A symbol that everyone is welcome.

"It really made me feel proud. Really great to be a Clevelander really. I've lived here my whole life. I was born in Cleveland," said Vince Barber, an athlete competing in the games. 

7,000 athletes. 25,000 visitors. An economic impact of at least $56 million to Northeast Ohio.

Those are the numbers organizers talked about. But they also talked about what this week has done for the image of a city.

"I think it shows that Cleveland is not the Mistake on the Lake. It's not what people assume it is outside of Northeast Ohio," said David Robinson, Manager of Strategic Partnership with the Gay Games.

"I think people are going to go back to their cities and their countries and say come to Cleveland because it's a friendly, great place with a lot of fun things to do. I think this is going to be one of the greatest things for Cleveland," Barber said. 

One athlete from Russia told Reporter George Smith that they only thing he knew about Cleveland was LeBron James. 

"I think it's amazing," said one fan. "People are so friendly. I do love Cleveland and the people here."

Closing ceremonies for the Gay Games are held tomorrow at 5 p.m., in Mall C. 

You can see more stories, videos and pictures on the Gay Games section of our website. 

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