Today marks the start of the 2015 EuroGames in Stockholm - one of the world's largest LGBT-sports events. Over 5000 athletes from 71 nations are gathered in Stockholm to compete in 27 different sports.
The EuroGames start at midday today in Kungsträdgården in the Swedish capital, with an open event where visitors can try out sports like wheelchair basketball, running and boxing. The opening ceremony is hosted by popular TV host Anna Brolin, and starts at 7 pm with a flag ceremony. Former Swedish national swimmer and current world champion in boxing, Mikaela Destiny Laurén will deliver the opening speech, and there will be a performance from the Diamond Dogs drag group.
"Sport is not as far ahead as the rest of society when it comes to LGBT issues. We hope to improve and change that through these competitions," said EuroGames Stockholm President Jakob Jansoon, speaking before the event.
EuroGames Stockholm 2015 kicks off with swimming events and ends up on Saturday with the European Same-Sex Dance Championships, which are being held at Stockholmsmässan. At the same time on Saturday will be the world's first LBGT Ultra Marathon, to be held at Djurgården.
Besides the sporting events, EuroGames also contains political and cultural programmes, which are free for all visitors. The political program is held at Kulturhuset and contains 16 events, including speeches, lectures and discussions with an expert panel; one event will be a live interview with openly gay boxer Orlando Cruz (below). The cultural element involves both art and movies centered around LGBT and gender issues.
EuroGames end on Saturday, August 8, with a closing ceremony held at Marcusplatsen in Sickla were there will be a tribute to all the winners. The ceremony starts at 7 pm.