1994 Gay Games pairs champions, Level 4
No sport defines the Gay Games more than same-sex pairs skating, outlawed in International Skating Union élite competition. And no pair generated more buzz at the 1994 Gay Games than Jean-Pierre Martin and Mark Hird, two out gay skaters from Montréal who teamed up especially for the Games. When they first began training, their rink threatened to kick them out. They were accused of kissing in public, although they were not romantically involved. But after Martin and Hird began a publicity campaign, they won the right to train unhindered, as well as international notice.
The high technical level of their skating attracted critical acclaim, with imaginative lifts and body positions that emphasized the advantages of a two-man team. They were invited to perform an exhibition in Madison Square Garden at Angels on Ice, an autumn 1995 skating fundraiser for the Gay Men's Health Crisis. Although Olympic champions also skated that night, only Martin and Hird won a full standing ovation from the audience.