By Tom Degun

London-2018-bid-logoDecember 12 - London's bid to host the 2018 Gay Games could involve venues on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre, that were used to stage the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

The Gay Games is the world's largest sporting and cultural event organised by and specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes, artists, musicians and others.

London is currently involved in a hugely competitive bid for the 2018 Gay Games where they are up against Paris, Amsterdam, Limerick and Orlando.

The London 2018 bid team have made it clear that they hope to use as many Olympic Park facilities as possible but a final decision will not be made clear until shortly before the city submits its Bid Books to the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) ahead of the deadline of February 28, 2013.

olympic parkThe London 2018 bid team are hoping to use as many Olympic Park facilities as possible in their bid

"At this stage we are still very much exploring our options with regards which facilities will be the best to use in the case of a London Gay Games event," London 2012 bid chairman Alex Davis told insidethegames.

"Obviously we hope to use as many of the Olympic Park facilities as are available and practical, but at this stage we haven't made any firm decisions.

"We will make our final decisions early next year before submitting the bid at the end of February."

Once all the Bid Books are submitted, the FGG will shortlist the top three bidders in May 2013 with the host city set to be confirmed by the end of next year.

Should London's bid include the 2012 Olympic venues, it would make them a formidable prospect and they are likely to receive backing from UK Sport, who have made clear their desire to bring as many major sporting events as possible to Britain in the coming years following the success of London 2012.

London 2018 bidLondon are formidable contenders for the 2018 Gay Games despite a strong bid race

The Gay Games were first staged in San Francisco in 1982 while they have been held every four years since then.

The event is the brainchild of 1968 Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell, whose goals were to promote the spirit of inclusion and participation, as well as the pursuit of personal growth in a sporting event.

The event was originally set to be called the Gay Olympics before legal action from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) forced organisers to drop the word Olympics and change the name to Gay Games, which it has had ever since.

As well as San Francisco, which hosted the first two editions of the Gay Games, Vancouver, New York, Amsterdam, Sydney, Chicago and Cologne have all stage the prestigious competition.

Cleveland in Ohio is set to host the 2014 Gay Games, with more than 12,000 participants from 70 nations set to attend.

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