Allow me to deviate from politics to discuss an important event for our state. The World Games 2022 will place Birmingham and the entire state of Alabama squarely in the global spotlight.
Believe it or not, this once-in-a-lifetime event is only a few months away with approximately 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries and up to 500,000 visitors expected to flood Birmingham for one of the world’s largest athletic competitions.
Folks, there are many questions about the World Games 2022. Is it the biggest sports party in state history? Is it a way to reconnect humanity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? Is it a chance for sports fans to witness history? Is it a showcase for Birmingham that can elevate and enhance the city’s and state’s image?
This is Birmingham’s gold medal moment. It is a moment to show the world that the story of Birmingham and the entire State of Alabama is the story of perseverance and triumph. It is a moment we will remember with pride for the rest of our lives.
So, what is The World Games which is happening July 7-17 in Birmingham? The easy answer is it is “the new generation of global sport competition,” organized with the support of the International Olympic Committee. These are the fastest growing sports in the world and several of them compete on the Summer Olympic platform, also. So, we will have a lot of the Olympians that competed in Tokyo last summer competing again here.
Elite athletes from all over the world will converge in Birmingham to participate in 34 sporting competitions at over 25 venues around the metro area.
It is also so much more. The schedule includes mainstream sports that many Alabamians have heard of, like flag football presented by the NFL, softball, lacrosse, bowling, waterski jumping and wakeboarding and sumo wrestling. Fans will also enjoy emerging sports like parkour, sport climbing, drone racing and canopy piloting.
There are multiple disciplines of dance sports, as well as many different types of martial arts, including Muay Thai and Jiu-jitsu.
Don’t forget about sports that most Alabamians have never encountered, such as floorball, korfball, beach handball and tug of war.
The sports program also includes wheelchair rugby, making The World Games 2022 making the first multi-sport international competition to include an adaptive sport as part of the regular sports program.
Alabama is filled with sports fans, and The World Games truly has something for anyone and everyone to enjoy.
As more and more people in Alabama and beyond learn about The World Games, organizers face another question: What impact will The World Games have on Birmingham and the State of Alabama? Alabama will welcome the world to the biggest athletic event in the Southeastern United States since the Atlanta Olympics in 1986.
Our renowned southern hospitality will be on full display. Visitors from around the world will be exposed to Birmingham’s vibrant food scene. They will see a city and state no longer defined by the brutal black-and-white images from the 1960s, but a place that has grown and matured.
The Opening Ceremonies promise to showcase Birmingham on the global stage. That is why local, state and national leaders have come together to support the World Games 2022. The business community in Alabama, especially Birmingham, are fully engaged.
Folks, remember, this is the first time the event has been held in the United States in more than 40 years, and Birmingham is the perfect place to bring the world back to America. Birmingham’s story is America’s story – built on hard work, perseverance, and teamwork. “I believe Birmingham and the entire State of Alabama is going to show up in a big way on the global stage,” says Nick Sellers, Chairman of the World Games 2022.
The World Games 2022 gives Birmingham and Alabama a true chance to shine.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at: www.steveflowers.us.