Photo: World OutGames Facebook Page
The 2017 World OutGames in Miami were canceled just hours before they were to begin
The 2017 World OutGames were canceled Friday (26 May) just hours before opening ceremonies in Miami, Florida.
Financially-strapped organizers are now faced with furious athletes who had already traveled to the competition which was to take place through 4 June.
In a Facebook post, organizers said it is ‘with deep regret’ that they have canceled opening and closing ceremonies and sports programming with the exception of aquatics, country western dance and soccer.
A Human Rights Conference and cultural programs will take place as planned.
‘We thank everyone who has supported the effort and apologize to those who will be impacted by this difficult decision,’ organizers said in a statement.
They are immediately facing widespread criticism and fury.
‘Thanks for robbing me of my money,’ wrote athlete Andre Mitchell on Facebook. ‘I take athletics very seriously. … I am very disappointed for a world class city.’
Another athlete told OutSports: ‘I’ve been traveling all day. I’m extremely upset and will demand travel expenses be paid.’
Organizers had just two months ago promised they would not cancel the event even though there were only just over 2,000 athletes registered to compete in 30 different events.
They had hoped to draw 10,000 athletes.
The 2013 World Outgames in Antwerp, Belgium, reportedly attracted about 5,000 athletes.