Floridians score Gay Games medals

By : Steve Blanchard
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Several local Floridians left Cleveland’s Gay Games IX with some new hardware. Athletes from both Orlando and Tampa Bay claimed top prizes and posted about their victories on Facebook or contacted Watermark directly about their wins.

Interestingly, the Gay Games organization does not issue the press a list of medal winners, so there is no comprehensive way of knowing exactly who won what, unless individual athletes share it on social media or email outlets directly.
Team Orlando took the silver medal in team bowling. Darryl Johnson of Orlando was joined by teammates Cody Reed of Ohio, David Lindley of California and Tom Ophardt of New York. “My original team wasn’t able to bowl, so I went on the Gay Games website and there they had a blog where you could post and get placed on a team,” Johnson said. “My teammates and I just clicked from the beginning.”

This marked Johnson’s 5th Gay Games experience—his first was in Amsterdam in 1998 where he won three medals. He’s planning to attend Gay Games X in 2018 when they’re held in Paris.

Other local winners include Christopher Hethcox of Tampa, who took the gold in Tennis after defeating his opponent 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support,” Hethcox posted on Facebook. “I’m dedicating this tournament and this gold medal to one of my mentors in tennis, Mr. Skip Lanier. Without him I would have never been the player or man that I am today.”

St. Pete Pride’s Ducks softball team also left the Midwest with medals in hand. The team was awarded the bronze medal in the tournament.

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